The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2016 to Rio Olympics medallists P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik; ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who lost a medal by a whisker, and shooter Jitu Rai on 29 Aug 2016 in New Delhi. This is for the first time the nation’s highest sporting award has been conferred on four athletes. Sindhu had won a silver medal in women’s badminton singles event in Rio and Sakshi had won the bronze medal in women’s freestyle wrestling.
The day is celebrated to respect and honour hockey legend Major Dhyanchand Singh who was born on this day (August 29). It is officially declared as National Sports Day.
Arjuna Award was also given to 15 sportspersons which included the likes of Olympian runner Lalita Babar, cricketer Ajinkya Rahane, boxer Shiva Thapa and wrestler Vinesh Phogat. Athlete Satti Geetha, hockey player Sylvanus Dung Dung and Rower Rajendra Pralhad Shelke were given the Dhyanchand Award.
National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years; Arjuna Award is given for consistently outstanding performance for four years; Dronacharya Award for coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious international sports events, Dhyan Chand Award for life time contribution to sports development and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development. Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments is given Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy.
A large number of nominations were received for these awards this year, which were considered by the Selection Committees consisting of former Olympians, Arjuna Awardees, Dronacharya Awardees, Dhyan Chand Awardees, Sports Journalists/Experts/Commentators and sports administrators. Selection Committee for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Awards was headed by Justice S.K. Agarwal, Retired Delhi High Court Judge. Selection Committee for Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Awards was headed by Ms. M.C. Mary Kom. Selection Committee for Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar was headed by Shri Rajiv Yadav, Secretary (Sports).
Based on the recommendations of the Committee and after due scrutiny, the Government has decided to confer awards upon the following sportspersons/ coaches/organizations:
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ranta 2016
Dronacharya Awards 2016
Arjuna Awards 2016
Dhyan Chand Award 2015
Rashtriya Khel Protsahana Purushkar, 2016
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2015-16
Punjabi University, Patiala
The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29, 2016.
Apart from a medal and a citation, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee will receive a cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh. Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awardees will receive statuettes, certificates and cash prize of Rs.5 lakh each. Recipients of Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar will be given Trophies and certificates. Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments will be given MAKA Trophy, award money of Rs. 10 lakh and certificate.
Congratulations to all the Awardees