Neeraj Chopra leads star parade as President confers Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award on sporting heroes
New Delhi, November 13, 2021
Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra led the star parade as President Ram Nath Kovind conferred 12 sportspersons with Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award and honoured 35 others with Arjuna awards in an impressive ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Saturday.
The 23-year-old javelin thrower is only the second individual Indian Olympic gold medalist and the first in athletics.
Previously known as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the government in August this year renamed the country's highest sporting honour after legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand
The Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan reverberated with thunderous applause as Chopra and Paralympics gold medalist Sumit Antil received the Khel Ratna Award from the President.
Apart from Chopra and Sumit Antil, Olympic silver-medalist wrestler Ravi Dahiya, bronze-winning pugilist Lovlina Borgohain, cricketer Mithali Raj, footballer Sunil Chhetri, hockey players P R Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh, Sunil Chhetri (football), Avani Lekhara (para-shooting), Pramod Bhagat (para-badminton) and Manish Narwal (para-shooting) also received the prestigious award.
However, Paralympic gold medalist Krishna Nagar did not attend the award ceremony because of a death in her family.
Interestingly, all members of the Olympic bronze medal-winning men's hockey team except, Sreejesh and Manpreet, received Arjuna Award at this function attended by a host of Ministers, dignitaries and sports celebrities.
Arjuna Award winners: Arpinder Singh (Athletics), Simranjit Kaur (Boxing), Shikhar Dhawan (Cricket), CA Bhavani Devi (Fencing), Monika (Hockey), Vandana Katariya (Hockey), Sandeep Narwal (Kabaddi), Himani Uttam Parab (Mallakhamb), Abhishek Verma (Shooting), Ankita Raina (Tennis), Deepak Punia (Wrestling), Dilpreet Singh, Harman Preet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Varun Kumar, Simranjeet Singh (all Hockey), Yogesh Kathuniya (Para-Athletics) Nishad Kumar (Para-Athletics), Praveen Kumar(Para-Athletics), Subhash Yathiraj (Para Badminton) Singhraj Adhana (Para Shooting), Bhavina Patel (Para Table Tennis), Harvinder Singh (Para Archery) and Sharad Kumar (Para-Athletics).
Coaches TP Ouseph (athletics), Sarkar Talwar (cricket), Sarpal Singh (hockey), Ashan Kumar (kabaddi), and Tapan Kumar Panigrahi (swimming) were conferred with the Dronacharya Award in the Life-Time Category
Radhakrishnan Nair P (athletics), Sandhya Gurung (boxing), Pritam Siwach (hockey), Jai Prakash Nautiyal (para-shooting), and Subramanian Raman (table tennis) received the Dronacharya Award in the regular category
The Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement went to athlete Lekha KC, chess grandmaster Abhijeet Kunte, Vikas Kumar (kabaddi), Sajjan Singh (wrestling) and Davinder Singh Garcha.
Punjab University (Chandigarh) received the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy for 2021.
The Khel Ratna award carries a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh, a medal and a scroll of honour. The Arjuna Award carries prize money of Rs 15 lakh.
Dronacharya Award: Given for producing medal winners at major international events. The award comprises a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a certificate, a ceremonial dress, and a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh.
Dhyan Chand Award: It is the highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and is awarded for performance and contribution to the promotion of sports in an individual capacity. The award comprises a Dhyan Chand statuette, a certificate, ceremonial dress and, a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.
Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is awarded to organisations (both private and public) and individuals for playing a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development over the period of the last three years.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy: It is awarded to a university for top performance in the inter-university tournaments over a period of a year.