Goa's ace chess player and Arjuna Award winner Bhakti Kulkarni has set a high standard to scale before the present generation.
Bhakti personifies sheer willpower, dedication, patience, consistency and humility, which are the precise qualities a sportsman should inculcate if he wants to make his journey memorable and inspirational.
On her arrival on Tuesday night, several family members, supporters and media personnel who were eagerly waiting for the ace chess maestro of Goa gave a warm welcome to Bhakti Kulkarni.
Bhakti's father was extremely emotional and joyful about his daughter bagging the highest sports award in India, which she received at the hands of President of India Draupadi Murmu.
She told reporters at the Dabolim airport on Tuesday night, "I am feeling very happy. I would like to thank all my supporters, my proud parents, my coaches, all the officials from the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG), the Goa Chess Association and everybody else for believing in me, encouraging me and supporting me throughout my career.”
Kulkarni further stated, "I remember when I started my career at the age of 3. It's been a great journey till now. I am very happy and sure that many children will take up chess, looking at it as a career.”
Commenting on her visit to Rashtrapati Bhavan, Bhakti said, "It was a great pleasure to be at Rashtrapati Bhavan last week and receive this prestigious award. In fact, every sportsperson dreams of getting the Arjuna Award. I am fortunate to be one of the awardees.”
Bhakti's father, who had come to the Dabolim airport to receive his Arjuna awardee daughter, told the media that he was filled with pride and joy.
"Many people don't like having a girl child, but I am feeling great pride to have a girl like Bhakti who made her way to Rashtrapati Bhavan and made us proud,” he said.
He further said, “All the efforts we made to support her and opportunities which came her way, she has turned them into gold.”