India’s highest sporting honour Khel Ratna Award, which was named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was rechristened in the honour of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand following the admirable performance of both men’s and women’s hockey teams in the Tokyo Olympics.
About Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games after Dhyan Chand who was an Indian field hockey player.
- This award was instituted in 1991-1992. Its first recipient was chess legend Viswanathan Anand. The award is given annually by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Recipient(s) is/are selected by a committee constituted by Ministry.
- They are honoured for their “spectacular and most outstanding performance in sports over a period of four years. Award comprises of a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of ₹25 lakh.
- Some winners of the award are Leander Paes, Sachin Tendulkar, Dhanraj Pillay, Abhinav Bindra, Pullela Gopichand, Mary Kom, Anju Bobby George, and Rani Rampal in 2020.
About Dhyan Chand
- Major Dhyan Chand, popularly known as The Wizard, was an Indian field hockey player. He is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of sport.
- He was well known for his extraordinary goal-scoring feat.
- He earned three Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936.
- His influence extended beyond these victories because India won field hockey event in seven out of eight Olympics in between 1928 to 1964. August 29 (his birthday) is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year.