Shubhankar Sharma, India’s highest-ranked golfer and a winner of two European Tour titles, has been conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award.
A selection panel appointed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, had recommended the 22-year-old Shubhankar’s name along with 19 other sportspersons for the nation’s second highest sporting honour, earlier this week on Monday.
Shubhankar’s nomination was finally confirmed when the Sports Ministry released the list of the National Sports Awards recipients on Thursday afternoon in a press release.
The Chandigarh-based professional, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, will receive the award from the President of India in a ceremony to be conducted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on 25th September, 2018.
Sharma now becomes the 20th Indian golfer and the 11th Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) member to be honoured with the Arjuna Award.
PGTI members who have won the Arjuna Award in the past include Ali Sher (1991), Amit Luthra (1996), Harmeet Kahlon (1997), Jeev Milkha Singh (1999), Shiv Kapur (2002), Jyoti Randhawa (2004), Arjun Atwal (2007), Gaganjeet Bhullar (2013), Anirban Lahiri (2014) and SSP Chawrasia (2017).
Shubhankar joins the illustrious list of Arjuna Awardees thanks to his exceptional performances at the international level over the last one year.
Sharma took the golfing world by storm after he won two European Tour events, the Joburg Open in South Africa and the Maybank Championship in Malaysia, within a space of just two months between December 2017 and February 2018.
Shubhankar then went on to bag two top-20s on the PGA Tour including a creditable tied ninth at the WGC – Mexico Championship, a tournament he led going into the final round. He also had a tied seventh finish at the Hero Indian Open.
These stellar performances helped Sharma rise to his career-best world ranking of 64 in March this year. He even led the European Tour Race to Dubai at one stage earlier this year.
Subsequently, Shubhankar went on to make Indian golfing history by playing all four Majors in the same year as his Major debut. He became the youngest Indian to play the Masters, the US Open and the PGA Championship. He also became the youngest Indian to make the cut at a Major when accomplished the feat on the eve of his 22nd birthday at The Open 2018.
Shubhankar will now be representing India along with Anirban Lahiri at the World Cup of Golf to be held at Melbourne, Australia, in November this year.
Reacting to his Arjuna Award nomination, Shubhankar said, “It has been more humbling than anything else. I am absolutely honoured and grateful to the nation to have found me worthy of this honour. I will do my best to live up to it and bring further laurels to my country.”
Congratulating Shubhankar on his Arjuna Award nomination, Mr. Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, said, “We at the PGTI extend our heartiest congratulations to Shubhankar Sharma for being conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award. Shubhankar’s record-breaking accomplishments on the international stage over the last one year have contributed in raising the stature of Indian golf. His talent and single-minded focus have helped him emerge as one of Asia’s leading professionals at a very young age. The award is a true recognition of his feats. We wish Shubhankar the very best for the future and hope he continues to make India proud on the international stage in the years to come.”