President Ram Nath Kovind (Image- Reuters)
At the country's first virtual National Sports Awards ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 74 sporting heroes were bestowed with the honours on the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, which is celebrated as India’s sports day.
The five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees and 27 Arjuna awardees, with the exception of a few, logged in from multiple cities to receive the honours from President Ram Nath Kovind, Indian Express reported.
Out of 74, 60 attended the virtual ceremony conducted across 11 Sports Authority of India (SAI) centers across India.
“This is the first awards ceremony in COVID times during which the President has participated," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said at the beginning of the ceremony.
Cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, para-athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu, women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, and paddler Manika Batra were conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the country’s highest honour for sportspersons.
While Sharma missed the event due to Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 commitments, Phogat stayed away as she has been tested positive for COVID-19.
Arjuna awardees Ishant Sharma (Cricket) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (Badminton) also did not participate because of testing positive for COVID-19.
Shortly after receiving the Dronacharya award, former Indian cricket coach Purushotam Rai passed away due to a heart attack on August 28. His name was announced for the Dronacharya awards this year, and he was scheduled to take part in the virtual felicitation programme from Bengaluru.
SAI also shared glimpses of the event on Twitter:
Full list of National Sports Award winners:
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Rohit Sharma (Cricket), Mariyappan Thangavelu (Para Athletics), Manika Batra (Table Tennis), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), Rani Rampal (Hockey).
Arjuna Award: Atanu Das (Archery), Dutee Chand (Athletics), Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (Badminton), Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty (Badminton), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Basketball), Manish Kaushik (Boxing), Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), Ishant Sharma (Cricket), Deepti Sharma (Cricket), Sawant Ajay Anant (Equestrian), Sandesh Jhingan (Football), Aditi Ashok (Golf), Akashdeep Singh (Hockey), Deepika (Hockey), Deepak (Kabaddi), Kale Sarika Sudhakar (Kho Kho), Dattu Baban Bhokanal (Rowing), Manu Bhaker (Shooting), Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting), Madhurika Patkar (Table Tennis), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Shiva Keshavan (Winter Sports), Divya Kakran (Wrestling), Rahul Aware (Wrestling), Suyash Narayan Jadhav (Para Swimming), Sandeep (Para Athletics), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting).
(Life- Time Category): Dharmendra Tiwary (Archery), Purushotham Rai (Athletics), Shiv Singh (Boxing), Romesh Pathania (Hockey), Krishan Kumar Hooda (Kabaddi), Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar (Para Powerlifting), Naresh Kumar (Tennis), Om Parkash Dahiya (Wrestling).
Regular Category: Jude Felix (Hockey), Yogesh Malviya (Mallakhamb), Jaspal Rana (Shooting), Kuldeep Kumar Handoo (Wushu), Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton).
Dhyan Chand Award: 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 Bal (Tennis), Netarpal Hooda (Wrestling).
Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards: 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), Late Magan Bissa (Life Time Achievement).Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy:
Panjab University, Chandigarh.