Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award Renamed After Hockey Great Dhyan Chand
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award Renamed After Hockey Great Dhyan Chand

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour of India, has been renamed Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today. The renaming recognises the ultimate hockey hero and legend of the sport, Dhyan Chand.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award Renamed

The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games(formerly known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna) is the highest sporting honour of the Republic of India.

The award is named after Dhyan Chand (1905–79), an Indian field hockey player, widely regarded as the greatest field hockey player of all time, who scored more than 1000 goals over a career that spanned over 20 years from 1926 to 1948. It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

“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! Jai Hind!” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

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.

The now renamed Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award comes with a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh.

Known as The Wizard, Major Dhyan Chand, a field hockey player, played international hockey from 1926 to 1949, scoring over 400 goals in his career. Dhyan Chand, born in Allahabad, was part of the Olympic team that won gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936.

Also read: Ashwin, Mithali Raj Named for Khel Ratna Award 2021