India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award has been renamed to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. Major Dhyan Chand is undoubtedly the most decorated sportsperson the country has ever seen and Prime Minister Narendra Modi deemed it fit that the nation’s highest sporting honour be named after him.
“I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views.”
“Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award,” the PM said.
History of Rajiv Gandhi Khel ratna Award
The Khel Ratna award was instituted in 1991-1992 and the first recipient was Chess legend, Viswanathan Anand. It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. As of last year, the award comprises a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of ₹25 lakh.
The recipients are selected by a committee constituted by the Ministry and are honored for their “spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years” at the international level. Among the other winners were Leander Paes, Sachin Tendulkar, Dhanraj Pillay, Pullela Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George, Mary Kom and Rani Rampal in 2020.
“Major Dhyan Chand was among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation’s highest sporting honour will be named after him,” said Modi in a tweet.