Khel Ratna renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday, announced that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award will now be known as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. PM Modi said with this decision, he has respected the wishes of a lot of citizens. The monumental Khel Ratna award, which was instituted in 1991/92, remains the highest honor in the nation for sportspersons and games.
Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to make the major announcement. He wrote, "I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views. Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Jai Hind!"
The Khel Ratna award, now known as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award, was introduced in 1991/92. Chess legend Viswanathan Anand was the first recipient of this award. In 2001, Abhinav Bindra (18) became the youngest recipient. Leander Paes, Sachin Tendulkar, Dhanraj Pillay, Pullela Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George, Mary Kom, and Rani Rampal are the others to receive the award.
The Khel Ratna award is now named after Indian hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand. He is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He scaled new heights in an era where India dominated field hockey. India won three Olympic gold medals in his presence (1928, 1932, and 1936). Dhyan Chand scored over 400 goals in his career.
Besides Khel Ratna, India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is also named after Dhyan Chand, the 'Dhyan Chand award'. It is awarded annually to the sporting figures, who apart from faring well on the field, also contribute to the sport after their retirement. Meanwhile, the National Stadium in Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honor.