29th August, the birth anniversary of the legendary Major Dhyan Chand is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India. Athletes and coaches from around the country are awarded for their achievements in sports on this day.
The President of India awards the highest sporting honour of the country, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, followed by the Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award, and the esteemed Dronacharya Award for coaches.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s award ceremony was unique, to say the least. The President of India joined the online virtual ceremony from his office as athletes received the awards at nine different Sports Authority of India (SAI) centers. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Bengaluru Pune, Sonepat, Hyderabad, and Bhopal were the designated centers. Players were not only dressed in the famous blazers but also wore masks and some of them came prepared with PPE kits as well.
Look who’s back to NCOE Bengaluru with the prestigious Khel Ratna Award. @imranirampal is indeed a winner all the way.#NationalSportsAwards @KirenRijiju @DGSAI @RijijuOffice @PIB_India @PMOIndia @IndiaSports @YASMinistry @mygovindia @WeAreTeamIndia @ddsportschannel pic.twitter.com/N3vjuUnBjv
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) August 29, 2020
As much as 74 individuals won different awards on the National Sports Day. Five athletes won the highest sporting award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. 27 athletes were awarded the Arjuna Award. Eight coaches won the Dronacharya Award in Life Time Category while five won it in the regular category. 15 athletes were awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Award for their lifetime achievements in sports. Eight athletes were awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Award in land, air, and water adventure category.
Check out the List of 2020 Winners Here.
Watch LIVE as President Kovind virtually confers the National Sports and Adventure Awards 2020 https://t.co/o6UZbvsYjl
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 29, 2020
President Ram Nath Kovind highlighted the importance of sports and fitness amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He also praised the progress of women in sports and pointed out that three of the five winners of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award are women. Rani Rampal (Hockey), Manika Batra (TT), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), Rohit Sharma (Cricket), and Mariyappan Thangavelu (Para-Athletics) won the Khel Ratna Award.