He was training in Georgia ahead of the World Wrestling Championship when his name was finalized and he could not attend when the highest sports award Rajiv Khel Ratna was conferred at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Bajrang Punia, who bagged World Championship bronze medal in September, received the Khel Ratna from Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju at Sports Authority of India headquarters on Thursday.
"An athlete gets happy when he gets an award and so I am also very happy but with this award, people now have more expectation and I have more responsibility. And I will try my best. I have to peak at the right time. Its an off season now. I am rehabilitating from elbow injury. I have been training on the mat for the last 10-15 days. I am training well and when you see me in Olympics you will see a different Bajrang," Punia told Republic TV after receiving the award.
"I never paid much attention to the pending prize money but yes when I informed this to the Sports Minister he immediately sanctioned & granted them. Prize money has been due from 2014," he added.