A day after the Olympic Games came to an end in Rio de Janerio, Brazil the Indian government on Monday (22nd August, 2016) conferred the prestigious Khel Ratna Awards for the year, 2016.
The Indian Government bestows various National Sports Awards annually to recognize and reward excellence in sports in the country. These awards include Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Dronacharya Award, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar .
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is India’s highest sporting award given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years. The 2016 recipients include the Olympic medallists PV Sindhu (Badminton), Sakshi Malik (Wrestling) and Dipa Karmakar (Gymnastics), who lost a medal by a whisker, and Jitu Rai (Shooting). Importantly, this is for the first time the nation's highest sporting award has been conferred on four athletes. The Indian sports ministry already has a provision that any medallist at Rio would automatically be included in the list. Apart from a medal and a citation, a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee will receive a cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh.
The Dronacharya Award is bestowed upon coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious international sports events. Dipa Karmakar's coach, Bishweshwar Nandi, has been selected for the Dronacharya Award, alongwith Nagapuri Ramesh (athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (cricket), S. Pradeep Kumar (swimming) and Mahabir Singh (wrestling).
The Arjuna Award is India’s second highest sporting award bestowed upon sportsperson for consistently outstanding performance for four years. The 2016 recipients include Rajat Chauhan (Archery), Lalita Babar (Athletics),Sourav Kothari (Billiards & Snooker), Shiva Thapa (Boxing),Ajinkya Rahane (Cricket), Subrata Paul (Football), Rani (Hockey),Raghunath V.R. (Hockey), Gurpreet Singh (Shooting), Apurvi Chandela (Shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (Table Tennis),Vinesh (Wrestling), Amit Kumar (Wrestling), andeep Singh Mann (Para-Athletics) and Virender Singh (Wrestling).
Dhyan Chand Award is bestowed upon sportspersons for life time contribution to sports development. The 2016 recipients include Satti Geetha (Athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (Hockey) and Rajendra Pralhad Shelke (Rowing).
The Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awardees will receive statuettes, certificates and cash prize of Rs.5 lakh each.
The Selection Committee for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and the Arjuna Award was headed by Justice S.K. Agarwal, retired Delhi High Court Judge. The Selection Committee for the Dronacharya Award and the Dhyan Chand Award was headed by the famous female boxer M.C. Mary Kom.
Besides, the Punjabi University of Patiala will be awarded the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2015-16. The MAKA Trophy is bestowed upon overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments.
These awards will be distributed by the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on 29th August, 2016.