Sports Minister non-committal on awarding Khel Ratna to Paralympic medalists

15 Sep 2016 | By Akriti Asthana
Paralympians and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award

On Wednesday, Sports Minister Vijay Goel refused to commit if Rio Paralympics medalists would be conferred with the highest sporting honour in the country, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

An Olympic medalist directly qualifies for the Khel Ratna during an Olympic year but there is no such policy for the paralympians.

India has won four medals so far in the ongoing Rio Paralympics.

In context: Paralympians and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award

InformationRajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games is India's highest sporting honour and is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The recipients are honoured for their outstanding performance in the field of sports at the international level.

As of 2016, the award comprises of a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh.

FactsKhel Ratna awardees

As of 2016, there have been thirty-two recipients of the Khel Ratna from fourteen sports disciplines.

The first awardee was chess-master Viswanathan Anand in the year 1991-92.

In 2001, shooter Abhinav Bindra, then aged 18, became the youngest recipient of the award.

The most recent winners of the award are 2016 Olympians, P. V. Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar, Jitu Rai and Sakshi Malik.

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DetailsPerformance of Indian Paralympians in Rio so far

Indian athletes have so far won two gold, one silver and one bronze medals in the ongoing Rio Paralympics.

Mariyappan Thangavelu bagged gold in men's T42 High Jump, Varun Bhati, bronze in men's T42 High Jump and Deepa Malik, silver in women's shotput F53 event.

Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia beat his own world record to win his career's second gold in the F46 event.

15 Sep 2016Sports Minister non-committal on awarding Khel Ratna to Paralympic medalists

DetailsVijay Goel's statement

On the event of unveiling the logo for the upcoming Kabaddi world cup, Goel said that Paralympians have made India proud by winning four medals but there has been no decision on any such policy for Paralympians. The matter is yet to be discussed within the ministry.

Goel also revealed that PM Modi will personally meet the para-athletes once they return from Rio.

In supportEminent personalities bat for the Paralympians

Union Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot pitched for giving Khel Ratna to the Paralympics medal winners.

He stated that the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, will felicitate the winners and award cash prizes which will be announced later.

Milkha Singh also said that the Paralympians deserved the highest recognition as they exemplify as to what can be achieved against all odds.

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19 Sep 2016Paralympic Medalists will be awarded Khel Ratna: Indian Sports Minister

Treating Paralympians as equals with Olympians, Indian Sports Minister Vijay Goel stated that next year onwards, paralympic medalists will be bestowed with the Khel Ratna.

On his visit to the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, Vijay Goel said, "Paralympic athletes brought a huge honour to the country. We are proud of them and they will be rewarded in the same manner like Sindhu and Sakshi."

30 Sep 2016Government announces Rs.90 lakh cash prize for Paralympic medalists

Indian Government has announced a total cash prize of Rs.90 lakh for the four medal winners of the 2016 Paralympics.

The cash reward will be given under Awareness Generation and Publicity (AGP) scheme by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Gehlot said, "Indian para-athletes bagged impressive four medals at the Rio Paralympics 2016 and made history."

Prize money distribution

Gold medalists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Devendra Jhajharia will each be awarded Rs.30 lakh. Silver medal winner Deepa Malik will receive Rs.20 lakh, while Varun Singh Bhati, who won a bronze medal will be given Rs.10 lakh.