“It is a great honour for me. The Khel Ratna is one award that every sportsperson dreams about,” the world No. 19 said after he was selected for India’s highest sports award.
For the former World No. 1 it was the third attempt for the Khel Ratna and Sodhi feels he was good enough to have won it last year as well. Sodhi had a great 2011 winning a World Cup final gold, a silver and bronze from World Cups and was also the World No. 1.
“I have been consistent for the past few years and this was my third attempt. I feel I was good enough to have won it last year too. But as long as you have the award in your kitty it should be a great feeling,” said Sodhi, who hails from Ferozepur in Punjab.
Sodhi is the seventh shooter after Abhinav Bindra (2001-02), Anjali Bhagwat (2002-03), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004-05), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (2006-07), Gagan Narang (2010-11) and Vijay Kumar (2011-12) to get the Khel Ratna.
It was also for the third consecutive year that a shooter was picked up for the the Khel Ratna.
“That shows the strength in Indian shooting. We have done well in the last three Olympics and especially in London. Today Indian shooters are a force to reckon with. I have focussed on consistency and I feel my hard work has finally been rewarded,” said Sodhi.
Sodhi hoped the medal would inspire the next generation of Indian shooters.
“I hope this award will inspire the next generation of Indian shooters. We have a huge wealth of talent and I am sure more shooters will get the Khel Ratna in the coming few years,” said Sodhi.