Two accomplished sports personalities from Kodagu, tennis champion Machanda Rohan Bopanna and squash star Kuttanda Joshna Chinappa (now settled in Chennai), have been shortlisted for the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2024.
The Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian honour in India, following Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, and is conferred for distinguished service in any field.
The 43-year old Rohan Bopanna is set to be the new world No. 1 in ATP men’s doubles ranking. This achievement would mark him as the oldest player ever to claim the top spot for the first time in his career, coinciding with his remarkable performance at 2024 Australian Open.
Currently in Melbourne, Bopanna has reached his third Grand Slam final in men’s doubles, with previous appearances at the US Open in 2010 and 2023. Partnering with Australia’s Matthew Ebden, he has surpassed his best-ever Australian Open run. The Indo-Australian duo is set to face the Italian pair of Andrea Vavassori and Simone Bolelli in the Australian Open-24 final today (Jan. 27).
Joshna Chinappa has been a prominent and accomplished figure in the realm of squash in India. At 37 years old, she has earned a world ranking of Number 10 in the professional squash circuit. Notably, Joshna made history as the first Indian to secure victory at the British Junior Squash Championship in 2005 in Under-19 category.
Her dominance extends to the national level, where she has clinched the title of the national squash championship an impressive 18 times, marking the highest number of victories by any Indian player. Joshna has made significant contributions on the international stage too.
In 2022, she secured the title of women’s doubles world champion. Among her accolades is a Commonwealth Games gold, a historic feat as India’s first medal in squash at the quadrennial event, accomplished in 2014 in Glasgow.