President Ram Nath Kovind will present the National Sports Awards to athletes and coaches in New Delhi on the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand which is celebrated as the National Sports Day.
Para-athlete Deepa Malik and world no.1 wrestler Bajrang Punia will be coffered Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. This is the first time that a female para-athlete is being awarded the highest sporting honour.
19 players have been selected for the prestigious Arjuna Award that only comes second to Khel Ratna in terms of the honour.
Apart from these awards, the Dronacharya Award will also be given to the coaches.
Dhyan Chand award is synonymous to the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award in sports and is the highest on the list.
Deepa Malik, who was nominated for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, believes that her biggest achievement is changing the perception of the common public towards disability and para-athletes in general. Malik, a silver medallist at the last Paralympics in Rio though is hurt that her event is not listed in the Tokyo 2020 games. She also feels that her whole journey has been more about trying to change people’s attitude towards how they look at disability.