India’s Arjuna awardees welcome Sandesh Jhingan to the club

With Sandesh Jhingan set to receive the Arjuna Award during the National Sports Awards 2020, he becomes the 27th footballer to win the prestigious award. Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) stars like Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Subrata Paul, who have all received the award in the past, were quick to welcome the defender into the ‘Arjuna Club’.

“Welcome to the Arjuna Club. I wanted to be the first one to congratulate him when I heard the news. So, I called him up and we had a hearty chat,” Chhetri, who was presented with the Arjuna Award in 2011, said. “He is the perfect example of the new generation of Indian players – fearless, ambitious, and constantly willing to upgrade himself. He is a great role model for youngsters and is someone whom I trust blindly. Good luck to him, and congratulations.”

The legendary Indian striker’s sentiment was echoed by goalkeeper Subrata, who received the Arjuna Award in 2016. "Winning the Arjuna Award is a major achievement for any sportsperson. Congratulations. I hope he takes this award as motivation and continues to perform for his country and club and bring more and more success," he said.

"Sandesh being conferred the Arjuna Award indicates how good his performances have been. Since 2014, he has been improving and constantly growing as a player. However, his best is yet to come,” Subrata added.

A rise in the popularity of the sport in Jhingan’s home state of Punjab is bound to be boosted by the fact that the last two Arjuna Award winners in football are from the north Indian state. Gurpreet was an Arjuna Award recipient in 2019 and had a personal message for the former Kerala Blasters FC skipper.

“Congratulations to Sandesh on this incredible achievement. It is a huge moment for your family. You have done them and all of Chandigarh proud. I hope you continue the way you have. You still have so much to give to Indian football," the Bengaluru FC shot-stopper said.

"Sandesh has been really good and consistent over the years and has become an integral part of the team. The way he has played for us over the years and has led young footballers is amazing. What I like about Sandesh is his confidence. On the pitch, it has never changed. He likes the leadership role and tries to carry everyone around him, which I admire,” Gurpreet added.

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