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Double joy for Shirsat

DNPUN17239 | 7/30/2009 | Author : Ashish Phadnis | WC :357

State kabaddi player Pankaj Shirsat has been blessed with a baby boy and the Arjuna award

Life is good for state kabaddi player Pankaj Shirsat. The player, who is captaining the national side, has found his name in the Arjuna award list announced on Wednesday. The Ahmednagar-based player is the only state player to receive the award in the last 13 years. And it is not just the award, the player was also blessed with a baby boy recently.
"It is really hard to express in words, as this is the best period of my life," was his reaction. "In the initial years of my career, first it was ONGC and later Air India, which provided financial support to me. I want to thank them for trusting me and my game, which helped me in shaping my career. Today, I feel good when I look back, as I have fulfilled the expectations of my sponsors," said Shirsat, while talking to DNA.
Shirsat started his international career from the fourth Asian Kabaddi Championship held in Bangkok in 2001. Though he was a standby player (13th place) in the first-ever Kabaddi World Cup in Mumbai in 2004, he raised his game rapidly and was selected to lead the Indian challenge in the second edition of the Kabaddi World Cup at Karnala Sports Academy in Panvel in 2007.
Shirsat is the first player from the state to get this honour at the international level. He proved his mettle and played a vital role in winning the title for the country. In the next year, India won the second Asian Indoor Kabaddi Championship held in Macau and International Invitation Kabaddi Championship in Mumbai under the his captaincy.
He was honoured with Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Award in 2002 and was the first player to receive the Maharashtra State Kabaddi Association's Madhusudan Patil Award in 2003.
"In future, I will try to give my best to the game. Not just as a player, I will contribute towards it as a coach, manager or even as an organiser," said Shirsat.
Arjun awardees kabaddi players from the state:
Sadanand Shetye (Mum; 1972-73), Shakuntala Khatawkar (Pune; 1978-79), Shantaram Jadhav (Pune; 1980-81), Maya Aakre-Meher (Mum; 1981-82), Ashok Shinde (Pune; 1994-95), Shriram Bhavsar (Sangli; 1995-96).

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