India's six London Olympics medallists were on Saturday, conferred Honorary Doctorate Degree by Mangalayatan University at its Annual Convocation Ceremony.
Badminton ace Saina Nahwal, boxer Mary Kom, shooters Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar, wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Jogeswar Dutt were honoured with Honoris Causa degrees by Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav at the university's fourth Annual Convocations.
An elated Saina said that it "was a matter of great pride" for her to be honoured with the doctorate degree.
"My parents had wished that I could take up the medical profession but destiny had planned another career for me. But today I am proud that I was being conferred the doctorate," she said.
Yadav called upon the sportspersons to play a proactive role in the task of nation building by entering "public life".
"Sportspersons create their own charisma and this factor can help them in achieving success in different walks of public life including electoral politics," he said.
He said that his party was "ready" to provide a platform to all sportspersons like Saina for "entering the public domain".
Recalling his early years as a budding wrestler, Yadav said that he understood the importance of "sportsman spirit" and convinced him of the importance of the sporting activities in the field of character and personality building.
Among those who were also awarded Honoris Causa degrees were Dr Rajendra Pachori, Director General, Energy and Resources' Institute and V K Saraswat, Scientific Advisor in the Ministry of Defence, Salma Ansari, Chairperson, Al-Noor Social and Charitable Society in the field of social work and Dr (Mrs) Tessy Thomas, Senior Defence Scientist.