2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, along with 11 others were honoured with the prestigious Khel Ratna award – the country’s highest sporting honour. On the other hand, five coaches, including the likes of Jai Prakash Nautiyal and Subramanian Raman received the Dronacharya Award.
The Indian contingent returned with eight medals from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, their highest ever tally at the event, with the campaign highlighted by Neeraj Chopra’s historic gold medal win in the men’s Javelin throw. The Indian men’s hockey team also claimed a memorable bronze medal, which was their first podium finish in 41 years.
In light of the extraordinary performances put up by the athletes in Tokyo, most of the medal winners were honoured with the prestigious Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. Neeraj Chopra, PR Sreejesh, Lovlina Borgohain, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Manpreet Singh were among the 12 athletes to have received the country’s highest sporting honour.
Meanwhile, India women’s cricketer Mithali Raj and Indian football legend Sunil Chhetri were among the other notable names in the list. 2020 Tokyo Paralympics medallist Avani Lekhara, Pramod Bhagat, Krishna Nagar, Sumit Antil and Manish Narwal also received the Khel Ratna award.
Meanwhile, 35 athletes, including 2020 Tokyo Olympics fencer Bhavani Devi, Tokyo Paralympics medallist Bhavina Patel and hockey star Vandana Katariya, were conferred with the Arjuna Award.
Para-shooting coach Radhakrishnan Nair, Table Tennis coach Subramanian Raman, Athletics coach Radhakrishnan Nair, Boxing coach Sandhya Gurung and Hockey coach Pritam Siwach all received the Dronacharya Award.
The Khel Ratna Award is given for outstanding performances in the field of sports, while the Arjuna Award is to recognise consistent performances and qualities like leadership and skills in the field of sports. Both the awards are given on the basis of performances over a period of four years.
The awards are generally given out on the National Sports Day – August 29, but they were postponed this year owing to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Ram Nath Kovind, India’s President will be honouring the award winners on November 13, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.