"The award is a big confidence booster. I will make all efforts to bring pride to India," Ravi Kumar said over phone from Delhi after receiving the prestigious award from President Pratibha Patil at a glittering ceremony on Monday.
Stating that he was very happy on being conferred with the award, the 23-year-old weightlifter said it was a reward for years of hard work. All credit for his success went to his parents, coaches and scores of well-wishers, he said.
Ravi Kumar, who works in the Army, is busy in practice in the India camp at Patiala for the mega event at Paris.
"It's dream come true. I wish he will bring more laurels for the country in future," his mother K Suryakanta, who also attended in the award giving ceremony, said.
Ravi Kumar is the seventh Oriya and second from this silk city to have been bestowed with prestigious Arjun award.
Way back in 1983, another weightlifter Bijay Kumar Satpathy of Berhampur was conferred with Arjuna Award.
"Award to Ravi Kumar will motivate several other talented youngsters to reach the glittering podium," said secretary of Orissa Weightlifting Association Narayan Sahu.
"We want him to participate in the next Olympics to be held at London," Sahu, also the vice president of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said.