In the very first year of the award's inception that is in 1961, there was a winner from the field of Athletics when famous Athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa won it. After that there was a lot of athlete who entered their name successively in the winners' list of the award. From the year of 1962, there was a winner of the award every year starting by Hav. Tarlok Singh. In 1963, the winner of the award was Stephie D'Souza. After him, there were winners like Makhan Singh in 1964 and Kenneth Powell in 1965. In the year of 1966, there were two winners of the award from the field of Athletics in the names of Ajmer Singh and B. S. Barua. In 1967 also, there were two winners from the field. The winners were Praveen Kumar and Bhim Singh. Capt. Joginder Singh and Manjit Walia won the award in the year of 1968.
From 1969, there was only one winner of the award every year from the field of Athletics starting from Hav. Harnek Singh. In 1970, the winner was Mohinder Singh Gill and Edward Sequeira won it in 1971. After Vijay Singh Chauhan won the award in 1972, Hav. Sriram Singh became successful to be the winner in the year of 1973. From the year of 1974, there were again two winners of the award every year from the field of Athletics. In 1974, T. C. Yohannan and Shivnath Singh won the award. Inspector Hari Chand and V. Anusuya Bai was the winners in the year of 1975 and Bahadur Singh and Geeta Zutshi became the joint winner of the award in 1976. In the years of 1978-79 also, there were two athletes who won the award. They were Suresh Babu and Angel Mary Joseph and R. Gyanasekaran won it in 1979-80. Gopal Saini became the winner in the following year that is in 1980-81 and in 1981, Sabir Ali was the winner of this prestigious award. In 1982, three athletes became successful to win the award. They were Charles Borromeo, Chand Ram and M. D. Valsamma. Capt. Suresh Yadav and famous lady athlete P.T. Usha were the awardees for the "Arjuna Award" in the year of 1983 and in 1984, Raj Kumar and Shiny Abraham won the award.
In the following year, 1985, there were three winners of the award again from the field of Athletics. The names of the successful athletes in that year were Raghubir Singh Bal, Asha Agarwal and Adille Sumariwala. Though Suman Rawat was the sole winner in the year of 1986, but in 1987 there were four successful athletes who won the award. These athletes were Balwinder Singh, Vandana Rao, Bagicha Singh and Vandana Shanbagh. The following three years again had sole winners from the field of Athletics. In 1988, the winner was Ashwini Nachappa; the winner of 1989 was Mercy Kuttan and in 1990, Deena Ram won the award. The year of 1991 was an exception in the very successful list of the Athletes as nobody could win the award in that year. However, Bahadur Prasad became the winner in the year of 1992 and again started the run of the field of Athletics in the winners' list of the "Arjuna Award". There was only one winner each in the following two years also as K. Saramma won in 1993 and Rosa Kutty was the winner inn 1994. In the following year Shakti Singh and the famous women athlete who later became an MLA in the Indian Parliament Jyotirmoyi Sikdar became the joint winner of the "Arjuna Award". There were two winners in the year of 1996 as well when Ajit Bhaduria and Padmini Thomas became the winners. In 1997, Reeth Abraham was the winner of the award.
The year of 1998 was probably the most successful one as far as the field of Athletics is concerned as it had five winners of the "Arjuna Award" in that year. Capt. Sirichand Ram, famous women athlete Neelam Jaswant Singh, S. D. Eshan, Rachita Mistry and Paramjit Singh were amongst the winners of the award that year. The year of 1999 was not very far in numbers of winners from that of 1998 as that year there were four winners of the award in the names of Gulab Chand, Gurmit Kaur, Parduman Singh and Sunita Rani. The field of Athletics had four winners of the "Arjuna Award" again in the very first year of the new millennium that is 2000. In that year the winners were famous women athlete K. M. Beenamol and three Physically Handicapped (PH) athletes like Yadvendra Vashishta, Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar and Joginder Singh Bedi. Amongst them Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar won the award for Power Lifting and Joginder Singh Bedi was awarded for his lifetime contribution. Athletics was winner less in the year of 2001 for the second time in the history of "Arjuna Award" and in 2002, Anju Bobby George and Saraswati Saha broke the streak and became the joint winner of the award.
In the year of 2003, the field of Athletics again had two winners of the award in the names of Soma Biswas and Madhuri Saxena and in 2004, the number of winners increased to three as Anil Kumar, J. J. Shobha and Devendra Jhajharia won the "Arjuna Award" in that year. Amongst those three, Devendra Jhajharia won the award as a Physically Challenged athlete. In the year of 2005 that is the last year of giving the "Arjuna Award" so far, there were again two winners from the field of Athletics as Ms. Manjit Kaur and Rajinder Singh Rahelu won the award. Rajinder Singh Rahelu became the winner in the Physically Handicapped category for Power Lifting. The 2007 Arjuna Award is given to KM Binu for his contribution in Athletics.
From the detailed discussion so far in this article, it is quite evident that the field of Athletics has almost dominated the winners' list of the very much prestigious and honourable "Arjuna Award" as it has won the award almost every year only except the years of 1991 and 2001. So, it can be said that this field is indeed a special field of sport as far as Indian sport is concerned.
(Last Updated on : 21-07-2014)
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