The Sports Ministry on Friday approved the decision to award this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to five sportspersons. It includes
- Rohit Sharma (cricket),
- Mariyappan T (para-athlete),
- Manika Batra (table tennis),
- Vinesh Phogat (wrestling)
- Rani Rampal (women’s hockey).
Rohit will be the fourth cricketer to receive the country’s highest sporting honour. Before him, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli have received this award.
Tendulkar was the first Indian cricketer to be awarded the Khel Ratna in 1998. Dhoni received the award along with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu in 2007 and Kohli in 2018. Earlier in 2016, badminton player PV Sindhu, gymnast Deepa Karmakar, wrestler Sakshi Malik and shooter Jeetu Rai were conferred with this honour.
There will be no National Sports Awards ceremony due to Corona
The National Sports Awards for the first time due to Corona will be given in a virtual manner on August 29. Every year on 29th August i.e. on the occasion of National Sports Day, these awards are given through a program in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Dronacharya Award (Life Time Category)
- Dharmendra Tiwary (Archery),
- Purushotham Rai (Athletics),
- Shiv Singh (Boxing),
- Romesh Pathania (Hockey),
- Krishan Kumar Hooda (Kabaddi),
- Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar (Para Powerlifting),
- Naresh Kumar (Tennis),
- Om Parkash Dahiya (Wrestling).
Meerabai and Sakshi honoured with Khel Ratna removed from Arjuna Award list
This year, the committee recommended the Sports Ministry to award the Arjuna Award to 29 players. It also included wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Meerabai Chanu who had won the Khel Ratna. But the Sports Ministry has decided not to give Arjuna Award to these two players who have already won the country’s highest sporting honour Khel Ratna. Wrestler Sakshi won the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, while Meerabai became the world champion of weightlifting in 2017.
Now these 27 players will get Arjuna Award
- Atanu Das (Archery),
- Dutee Chand (Athletics),
- Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (Badminton),
- Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty (Badminton),
- Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Basketball),
- Subedar Manish Kaushik (Boxing),
- Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing),
- Ishant Sharma (Cricket),
- Deepti Sharma (Cricket),
- Sawant Ajay Anant (Equestrian),
- Sandesh Jhingan (Football),
- Aditi Ashok (Golf),
- Akashdeep Singh (Hockey),
- Deepika (Hockey),
- Deepak (Kabaddi),
- Kale Sarika Sudhakar (Kho Kho),
- Dattu Baban Bhokanal (Rowing),
- Manu Bhaker (Shooting),
- Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting),
- Madhurika Suhas Patkar (Table Tennis),
- Divij Sharan (Tennis),
- Shiva Keshavan (Winter Sports),
- Divya Kakran (Wrestling),
- Rahul Aware (Wrestling),
- Suyash Narayan Jadhav (Para-Swimming),
- Sandeep Para (Athletics)
- Manish Narwal (Para Shooting).
Dhyan Chand Award:
- Kuldip Singh Bhullar (Athletics),
- Jincy Philips (Athletics),
- Pradeep Shrikrishna Gandhe (Badminton),
- Trupti Murgunde (Badminton),
- N. Usha (Boxing)
- Lakha Singh (Boxing),
- Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu (Football),
- Ajit Singh (Hockey),
- Manpreet Singh (Kabaddi),
- J. Ranjith Kumar (Para-Athletics),
- Satyaprakash Tiwari (Para Badminton),
- Manjeet Singh (Rowing), Late Shri Sachin Nag (Swimming),
- Nandan P Bal (Tennis),
- Netarpal Hooda (Wrestling).
The Sports Ministry constituted a committee of 12 members to select the winners. It was led by retired Supreme Court Justice Mukundakam Sharma. Members of the committee were former cricketer Virender Sehwag, former hockey player Sardar Singh, Paralympic silver medalist Deepa Malik, former table-tennis player Monalisa Barua Mehta, boxer Venkatesan Devarajan, besides journalists Alok Sinha and Neeru Bhatia.
Prize money with the awards
The Khel Ratna is India’s largest sports award. It is named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Every year it is given to the best player in the country. Till now the player was given 7.5 lakh rupees with the award. But now the recipient of the Khel Ratna award will get Rs 25 lakh. It has been increased by more than 300 per cent.
The recipient of the Arjuna Award will be given Rs 15 lakh instead of 5, Dronacharya Awardee will be given Rs 10 lakh instead of 5 and the Major Dhyanchand Lifetime Award award will be given Rs 15 lakh instead of 5. The entire draft has been prepared. It will be announced on August 29, ie, Sports Day. Last year, Paralympian Deepa Malik and wrestler Bajrang Punia received the award.
The Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards are given to players, while the Dronacharya Award is given for contribution in the field of coaching. In addition, the Dhyan Chand Award is given to players for lifetime achievement. This year’s Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna have been given on the basis of performance from January 2016 to December 2019.
Players caught in doping cannot apply
Such players cannot send applications for the National Sports Awards, which have been found guilty by the National Anti-Doping Agency, or NADA or investigations are going on against them.