Basketball and India

Anitha Pauldurai named among 2021 Padma Shri awardees

(NBA Getty Images)

Anitha Pauldurai was been named as a recipient of the Padma Shri award, the Union Home Ministry announced on the eve of the nation's 72nd Republic Day (26th January).

The Padma Shri is the fourth-highest honor presented to a civilian after the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan. The 'Padma' awards were first instituted in 1954 and were awarded to Indian citizens to recognize their contribution in various spheres of activity such as arts, education, industry, science, sports, literature, medicine, social service, and public affairs.

In this year's announcement, Anitha Pauldurai was one of seven sports personalities, who were among 102 people listed as Padma Shri recipients. She is just one of 29 women to be named among the 119 Padma Awards recipients.

Basketball Career

Pauldurai made headlines right out at the gates, becoming the youngest ever captain of the Indian women's basketball team at 19 in 2004. She went on to captain the squad for nearly eight years.

An owner of a record 30 medals in National Championships, Pauldurai has won medals in notable international events as well.

She was on the roster of three gold-medal winning squads - the first South Asian Beach Games held in Hambantota, Sri Lanka in 2011; the third Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China in 2012 and the first FIBA 3x3 Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2013.

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She was also part of the Indian team that won silver in 3x3 basketball at the third Asian Indoor Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2009.

In 2019, she participated in the women's 3x3BL - the first-ever 3x3 professional league in India - as an All-Star for the Pune Panthers. In the opening round of Season 1 of the women's 3X3BL, she was named MVP as the Panthers clinched the round.

Late in 2020, it was announced that the Panthers finished second on the final league standings of the first-ever women's 3X3BL - just 10 points shy of the champions - the Kochi Stars.

As per the Basketball Federation of India, she is only the second basketball player in their history and the first since Prashanti Singh in 2019 to receive the Padma Shri honour.

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