President Kovind presented Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and several other dignitaries attended the ceremony from Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
The awardees attended the ceremony from various places across the country, Bengaluru, Pune, Sonepat, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Hyderabad and Itanagar. The Ceremony was broadcast live on AIR News and Doordarshan. For the first time, the National Sports and Adventure Award ceremony is being conducted virtually.
Before the ceremony, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju paid floral tributes to hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand at his statue and portrait at Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi. The prize money in four of the seven categories of the National Sports and Adventure Awards has been enhanced. Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju announced the enhancement on the occasion of the National Sports Day on Saturday. The prize money for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been increased to 25 lakh rupees from the previous amount of 7.5 lakh rupees.
Arjuna Award has been enhanced to 15 lakh rupees from 5 lakh. The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given 5 lakh rupees will now be given 15 lakh rupees as cash prize, while Dhronacharya (Regular) will be given 10 lakh instead of 5 lakh rupees per awardee. Dhyanchand Awardees will be given 10 lakh rupees instead of 5 lakh rupees.
Speaking about the decision, Rijiju said, the prize money for the Sports Awards was last reviewed in 2008. He said these amounts should be reviewed once every 10 years at least. He added that if professionals in every field have seen an enhancement in their earnings, sportspersons should also get enhanced earnings.
The Minister was talking to the media after paying floral tributes to hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand at his statue in Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi this morning. Rijiju congratulated the winners of National Sports Awards for the accolades and honours they brought to India. He said that the performance of Indian athletes at international level has gone up as compared to the past. He stated that well performing athletes have to be recognised and rewarded and therefore, the number of awardees in National Sports Awards has also gone up this year.