India’s sporting heroes received the annual national awards in an online ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Athletes logged in from multiple cities and President Ram Nath Kovind honoured them.
This year 74 were picked for the national honours. This included an unprecedented five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratnas and 27 Arjuna awardees. 60 attended the virtual ceremony which was conducted across 11 Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres in various cities.
Cricketers Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma missed the ceremony due to their IPL commitments in the UAE. Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat and badminton player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had to pull out of the ceremony after testing positive for the virus.
3 Khel Ratna winners attended the ceremony. These were TT player Manika Batra, Paralympic gold-medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu and women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal.
Rohit Sharma and Vinesh Phogat couldn’t attend the meeting.
President Kovind applauded the awardees.
“This is the first awards ceremony in COVID times 3esxduring which the President has participated,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said.
The prize money for the Khel Ratna has increased to rupees 25 lakh from the previous amount of rupees 7.5 lakh. Arjuna awardees receive rupees 15 lakh, 10 lakh more than the previous prize money. The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) awardees received rupees 15 lakh, instead of rupees 5 lakh. The regular Dhronacharya came with rupees 10 lakh instead of rupees 5 lakh per awardee. Dhyanchand Awardees received rupees 10 lakh instead of rupees 5 lakh.
The venues followed all health and safety protocols, keeping with the guidelines of the Health Ministry. Awardees were wearing PPE kits as they reached the ceremony venues.
As per Sports Ministry’s order, every award winner had to undergo a COVID-19 test before reporting to the venue.
NATIONAL SPORTS AWARD WINNERS
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Rohit Sharma (Cricket), Mariyappan Thangavelu (Para Athletics), Manika Batra (Table Tennis), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), Rani Rampal (Hockey).
Arjuna Award: Atanu Das (Archery), Dutee Chand (Athletics), Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (Badminton), Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty (Badminton), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Basketball), 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 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).
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).
Regular Category: Jude Felix (Hockey), Yogesh Malviya (Mallakhamb), Jaspal Rana (Shooting), Kuldeep Kumar Handoo (Wushu), Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton).
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 Bal (Tennis), Netarpal Hooda (Wrestling).
Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards: Anita Devi (Land Adventure), Col Sarfraz Singh (Land Adventure), Taka Tamut (Land Adventure), Narender Singh (Land Adventure), Keval Hiren Kakka (Land Adventure), Satendra Singh (Water Adventure), Gajanand Yadava (Air Adventure), Late Magan Bissa (Life Time Achievement).
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy: Panjab University, Chandigarh
RASHTRIYA KHEL PROTSAHAN PURUSKAR
Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent: Lakshya Institute, Army Sports Institute.
Encouragement to sports through Corporate Social Responsibility: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd.
Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures: Air Force Sports Control Board.
Sports for Development: International Institute of Sports Management (IISM).