New Delhi, President of India Ramnath Kovind awarded the annual National Sports Awards to the players of the country who performed brilliantly in the event organized online due to the COVID-19 epidemic which ‘logged in’ from many cities.
This year 74 players were selected for the National Award, five of which were awarded the Khel Ratna and 27 for the Arjuna Award. Of these, 60 players took part in the virtual event from 11 centers of the Sports Authority of India.
Cricketers Rohit Sharma (Khel Ratna) and Ishant Sharma (Arjuna Award) could not attend the ceremony as they are in the UAE for Indian Premier League commitments while star wrestler Vinesh Phogat (Khel Ratna) and badminton player Satwikasiraj Rankereddy (Arjun Prize) had to withdraw from the ceremony after being found COVID-19 positive.
Apart from Rohit and Vinesh, three other Khel Ratna awards were presented to table tennis player Manika Batra, Paralympic gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu and women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal who attended the ceremony.
Manika from Pune while Thangavelu and Rani ‘logged in’ from Bangalore Center of Sports Authority of India.
President Kovind praised the participating awardees, whose names were called and stated their achievements. However, there was a shortage of the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan, where the ceremony is held.
Before the commencement of the ceremony, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said,
“This is the first award ceremony during COVID-19 in which the President has been present.”
This year the players’ cash prizes have been increased. This morning, the prize money of Khel Ratna has increased to Rs 25 lakh, which was earlier Rs 7.5 lakh.
22 players went online to receive the Arjuna Award, they have given Rs 15 lakh, which is Rs 10 lakh more than before.
The amount of Dronacharya (lifetime) awards were earlier five lakhs, which has been increased to Rs 15 lakhs. At the same time, regular Dronacharya awardees were given 10 lakh rupees, which was earlier five lakh rupees.
The Dhyanchandra Awardees have given Rs 10 lakh instead of five lakh.
The first protocol in the 44-year history of the award was due to the stringent protocol of COVID-19 when winners, guests and dignitaries could not gather at the Durbar Hall.
Among those who received the Arjuna Award this year were star runner Duti Chand, women cricketer Deepti Sharma, golfer Aditi Ashok and men’s hockey team striker Akashdeep Singh.
The Dronacharya Lifetime Award was given to eight coaches including Archery Coach Dharmendra Tiwari, Naresh Kumar (Tennis), Shiv Singh (Boxing) and Ramesh Pathania (Hockey).
In the regular category, five including hockey coach Jude Felix and shooting coach Jaspal Rana were awarded the Dronacharya Award.
A tragic incident occurred on Friday when Dronacharya (lifelong) winning athletics coach Purushottam Rai died in Bengaluru due to a heart attack.
This year the Dhyanchand Award has been given to 15 coaches including Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu (Football), Trupti Murgunde (Badminton) and Nandan Bal (Tennis).
Golfer Aditi Ashok and former footballer Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu could not take part in it as they are out of the country.
All the protocols related to health and safety were followed keeping in mind the guidelines of the Ministry of Health at the centers. Rather, the award winners were seen wearing PPE kits.
Each award winner had to undergo a COVID-19 investigation before coming to the center as directed by the Sports Ministry.
National Sports Award Winner:
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Rohit Sharma (Cricket), Mariyappan Thangavelu (Para Athlete), Manika Batra (Table Tennis), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), Rani Rampal (Hockey)
Arjuna Award: Atanu Das (Archery), Duti Chand (Athletics), Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (Badminton), Chirag Chandrashekhar Shetty (Badminton), Vishvesh Bhriguvanshi (Basketball), Manish Kaushik (Boxing), Lavlina Borgohan (Boxing), Deepti Sharma (Cricket), Sawant Ajay Anant (Ashwarohi), Sandesh Jhingan (Football), Aditi Ashok (Golf), Akashdeep Singh (Hockey), Deepika (Hockey), Deepak (Kabaddi), Kale Sarika Sudhakar (Kho Kho), Dattu Baban Bhokanal (Rowing), Manu Bhakar (Shooting), Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting), Madhurika Patkar (Table Tennis), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Shiva Keshavan (Winter Sports), Divya Kakran (Wrestling), Rahul Aware Wrestling), Suyesh Narayan Jadhav (Para Swimmer), Sandeep (Para Athlete), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting).
Dronacharya Award (Lifetime): Dharmendra Tiwari (Archery), Purushottam Rai (Athletics), Shiv Singh (Boxing), Romesh Pathania (Hockey), Krishna Kumar Hooda (Kabaddi), Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar (Para Powerlifting), Naresh Kumar (Tennis), Om Prakash Dahiya (Wrestling) ).
Regular Range: Jude Felix (Hockey), Yogesh Malaviya (Mallakhamb), Jaspal Rana (Shooting), Kuldeep Kumar Hindu (Wushu), Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton).
Dhyanchand Award: Kuldeep Singh Bhullar (Athletics), Jinsey Phillips (Athletics), Pradeep Srikrishna Gandhe (Badminton), Trupti Murgunde (Badminton), N. Usha (Boxing), Lakha Singh (Boxing), Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu (Football), Ajit Singh (Hockey) , Manpreet Singh (Kabaddi), J Ranjit Kumar (Para-Athletics), Satyaprakash Tiwari (Para Badminton), Manjeet Singh (Rowing), Late Shri Sachin Nag (Swimming), Nandan Bal (Tennis), Netrapal Hooda (Wrestling).
Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award: Anita Devi, Colonel Sarfaraz Singh, Taka Tamut, Narendra Singh, Kewal Hiren Kakka, Sathendra Singh, Gajanand Yadav, Late Magan Bissa.
Abul Kalam Azad Trophy: Punjab University, Chandigarh
National Sports Promotion Award: Target Institute.
(Courtesy- Language PTI)