India honors sports heroes with Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna awards

Tokyo Olympics 2020 gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, veteran woman cricketer Mithali Raj, India football team captain Sunil Chhetri and history-making Paralympic stars (from Avani Lekhara to Pramod Bhagat) shared the spotlight as an unprecedented 12 sportspersons were presented with India’s highest sporting honor — the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna — by President Ram Nath Kovind in Delhi on Saturday. 

Neeraj became the only second individual gold medalist from India at the Olympics and the first-ever in athletics. 

In a glittering function organized at the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President recognized the country’s unparalleled Olympic and Paralympic performances. The event became an in-person affair this time after going online the previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The star attraction of the evening was Chopra, who received his Khel Ratna award amid thunderous applause from the select dignitaries present at the specially organized function. Chopra was the first among the Khel Ratna awardees to receive the honor. 

Besides the 23-year-old Javelin Thrower, Ravi Kumar, who won a silver medal in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics, also received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna. Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), Sreejesh PR (Men’s Hockey) and Manpreet Singh (Men’s Hockey), who also brought laurels to the country during the quadrennial event in Tokyo, received the prestigious award. 

Along with 12 Khel Ratnas, India this year has 35 Arjuna awardees. The long list this year was a result of the historic medal hauls at the Olympics (7) and Paralympics (19). 

The Khel Ratna award carries a cash prize purse of Rs 25 lakh, a medal and a scroll of honor. 

The Arjuna award carries a prize money of Rs 15 lakh, a bronze statue and a scroll of honor. 

Image courtesy of (Image courtesy:

Share this post