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New Delhi, August 21, 2020
Cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis player Manika Batra, Paralympian Mariyappan Thangavelu and Indian women's hockey captain Rani Rampal were today chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the nation's highest sports honour.
In the National Sports Awards 2020 announced here today, the Government also chose 27 sportspersons for the prestigious Arjuna Awards, 13 coaches for the Dronacharya Award, including eight in the Lifetime category and five in the Regular category, and eight persons for the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards.
Sharma is the fourth cricketer after legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli -- all former India captains -- to be conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, which is given for spectacular and most outstanding performance by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
Tendulkar was awarded the Khel Ratna in 1998, Dhoni got it in 2007 and Kohli received it in 2018.
Rohit earned the award after a fabulous 2019 with the bat. He had his best year in terms of statistics across formats especially in ODIs. He finished the year as the highest run-scorer in the 50-over format, scoring a staggering 1,490 runs in ODIs including seven hundreds – the most by any player in the calendar year.
Vinesh has been rewarded for her gold medals in the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games besides a bronze in the 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships.
Manika won two golds at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and subsequently won bronze at the 2018 Asian Games. She, however, is yet to seal qualification to the Tokyo Olympics after losing in the quarter-finals of the 2020 Qualifiers in January.
Rani is the third Indian hockey player after Dhanraj Pillay and Sardar Singh to be chosen for the honour.
Thangavelu got the recognition for his gold medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympics in the T42 high jump category.
The coaches chosen for the Dronacharya Award are Dharmendra Tiwary (Archery), Purushotham Rai (Athletics), Shiv Singh (Boxing), Romesh Pathania (Hockey), Krishan Kumar Hooda (Kabaddi), Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar (Para Powerlifting), Naresh Kumar (Tennis) and Om Prakash Dahiya (Wrestling) in the Lifetime category and Jude Felix Sebastian (Hockey), Yogesh Malviya (Mallakhamb), Jaspal Rana (Shooting), Kuldeep Kumar Handoo (Wushu) and Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton) in the Regular category.
The sportspersons chosen for the Arjuna Award are: 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), Ajay Anant Sawant (Equestrian), Sandesh Jhingan (Football), Aditi Ashok (Golf), Akashdeep Singh (Hockey), Deepika (Hockey), Deepak (Kabaddi), Sarika Sudhakar Kale (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), and Manish Narwal (Para Shooting).
The Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime contribution to sports development has been given to: 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 Sachin Nag (Swimming), Nandan P Bal (Tennis) and Netarpal Hooda (Wrestling).
The Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards 2019 have gone to 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) and late Magan Bissa (Life Time Achievement).
The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy has been given to Panjab University.
The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar has been given to Lakshya Institute and Army Sports Institute (Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent); Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (Encouragement to sports through Corporate Social Responsibility); Air Force Sports Control Board (Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures) and International Institute of Sports Management (Sports for Development).
The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function through virtual mode from Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29.