Centre Renames Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award now renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award is the highest sporting honour in the nation.
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 6 announced that India's top sports award Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
Modi in a tweet said "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!".
PM further said, "Major Dhyan Chand was among India's foremost sportspersons who brought honor and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation's highest sporting honor will be named after him".
Hockey greats Dhyan Chand and KD Singh Babu were the stars as India won six straight Olympic tournaments between 1928 and 1956. Five of their eight triumphs came after India's independence from British rule in 1947.
Hockey remains India's national game but has slipped in the popularity stakes behind cricket, which can boast glamour and riches.
The Khel Ratna award was instituted in 1991-1992 and the first recipient was Chess legend, Viswanathan Anand. 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.