NEW DELHI: A grand ceremony was conducted on January 9, 2023 at Rashtrapati Bhawan where President Droupadi Murmu bestowed the prestigious Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards to twenty-six exceptional athletes and para-athletes. The occasion had been rescheduled from its customary date of August 29 - which is marked as Major Dhyan Chand's birth anniversary – owing to the Hangzhou Asian Games occurring between September 23rd till October 8th.
Chirag Shetty and Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy, esteemed badminton players who hold the world No. 1 rank, were the central allure of the evening. They received recognition in form of Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award for their remarkable achievements in 2023; including clinching India's top Asian Games gold medal for badminton, triumphing at both Asian Championships and Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament.
During the Arjuna Awards ceremony in India, distinguished athletes were awarded recognition for their exceptional performance and admirable conduct over a four-year period. The esteemed recipients included accomplished individuals namely Ojas Pravin Deotale and Aditi Gopichand Swami who demonstrated excellence in archery, Murali Sreeshankar whose athletic skills surpassed expectations, R. Vaishali praised as a chess Grandmaster while Mohammed Shami was highly regarded within cricketing circles to receive this prestigious honor.
Antim Panghal, a wrestler, Mohammad Hussamuddin, a boxer and Sheetal Devi who is an para-archer were some of the awardees at Arjuna and Dronacharya awards. These athletes have shown that these awards are not limited to just certain sports categories. Each recipient was granted ₹15 lakhs with their award while Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna prize came with worth of ₹25 lakh.
RB Ramesh, the mentor of budding chess prodigies like Praggnanandhaa, was one of the distinguished awardees to receive Dronacharya accolades. The coaches in different fields such as wrestling, para athletics and hockey alongside mallakhamb received recognition for their notable contribution both in regular and lifetime categories at this event.
The Dhyan Chand Award recognized notable individuals who have made significant contributions in their respective sports during the lifetime achievement category. Manjusha Kanwar (badminton), Vineet Kumar Sharma (hockey), and Kavitha Selvaraj(kabaddi) were acknowledged for their enduring impact.
The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy was awarded to Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar for its excellent performance as a university. The first runner-up spot went to Lovely Professional University located in Punjab and the second position was secured by Kurukshetra University, situated in Kurukshetra.
With their spot secured for the Paris Olympics, Chirag Shetty and Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy were in the spotlight. The whole nation buzzed with joy and pride as they rejoiced over its sporting champions' achievement - raising hopes of a medal win at this prestigious event.
ALSO WATCH :