For the first time in the history of the National Sports Awards, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday virtually conferred the National Sports and Adventure Award 2020. Kovind presented Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar. A record 74 athletes of the country were honoured on hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand’s 115th birth anniversary.

Speaking on the occasion, Kovind said, “Due to Covid-19, the sports world has been impacted. However, the Sports Ministry and other institutes have also maintained contact with the coaches and players. Sports and sportspersons will strengthen the spirit of solidarity among our countrymen.” While paying tributes to Major Dhyanchand, the President said, he is a role model for sportsperson as well as all other countrymen.

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Table Tennis star Manika Batra was presented with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest sports honour in the country. Apart from Manika, cricketer Rohit Sharma, Mariyappan T. (Para-Athletics), Vinesh (Wrestling) and Rani (Hockey) were also conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

Twenty-seven sportspersons were honoured with the Arjuna Award, during the ceremony.
They were Atanu Das (archery), Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty (badminton), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (basketball), Subedar Manish Kaushik and Lovlina Bograhain (boxing), Deepti Sharma (cricket), Sawant Ajay Anant (Equestrian), Sandesh Jhingan (football), Aditi Ashok (golf), Akashdeep Singh and Deepika (hockey), Deepak (kabaddi), Kale Sarika Sudhakar (kho kho), Dattu Baban Bhokanal (rowing), and Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting), Madhurika Suhas Patkar (table tennis), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Divya Kakran and Rahul Aware (Wresting), Shiva Keshavan (Winter Sports), Suyash Narayan Jadhav (Para Swimming), Sandeep (Para Athletics) and Manish Narwal (Para shooting), Shutler Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy, cricketer Ishant Sharma and shooter Manu Bhaker.

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The awardees attended the ceremony from Sports Authority of India (SAI) and National Informatics Centre (NIC) centres in various places across the country – Bengaluru, Pune, Sonepat, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Hyderabad and Itanagar. While Indian women’s hockey team skipper Rani Rampal, Table Tennis player Manika attended the ceremony, Vinesh Phogat missed out as she was tested positive for coronavirus. Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma too missed the ceremony due to IPL 2020 commitments.
The prize money for Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna Award has been increased to Rs 15 lakhs and Rs 25 lakhs, respectively.

Also, Dharmendra Tiwary (archery), Purushotham Rai (athletics), Shiv Singh (boxing), Romesh Pathania (hockey), Krishan Kumar Hooda (kabaddi), Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar (para powerlifting), Naresh Kumar (tennis), and Om Parkash Dahiya (wrestling) received Dronacharya Lifetime award. Yogesh Malviya (Mallakhamb), Jaspal Rana (Shooting), Jude Felix Sebastian (Hockey) Kuldeep Kumar Handoo (Wushu), and Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton) were conferred with Dronacharya Award in the regular category.

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The winners of Dhyan Chand Award winner include — Kuldip Singh Bhullar (Athletics), Jincy Philips (Athletics), Pradeep Shrikrishna Gandhe (Badminton), Trupti Murgunde (Badminton), N Usha(Boxing), Lakha Singh (Boxing), Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu (Football), Ajit Singh (Hockey), Manpreet Singh (Kabaddi), J Ranjith Kumar (Para Athletics), Satyaprakash Tiwari (Para Badminton), Manjeet Singh (Rowing), Late Shri Sachin Nag (Swimming), Nandan P Bal (Tennis), Netarpal Hooda (Wrestling).

Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards winners: Anita Devi (Land Adventure), Col Sarfraz Singh (Land Adventure), Taka Tamut (Land Adventure), Narender Singh (Land Adventure), Keval Hiren Kakka (Land Adventure), Satendra Singh (Water Adventure), Gajanand Yadava (Air Adventure) and Late Magan Bissa (Life Time Achievement). Panjab University, Chandigarh won Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy. (ANI)

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