President Pranab Mukherjee gave away the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to Rio Olympics medallists PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik alongside high achievers in gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jitu Rai. Sindhu had won a silver medal in women’s badminton singles event in Rio and Sakshi had won the bronze medal in women’s freestyle wrestling.
The day is celebrated to respect and honour hockey legend Major Dhyanchand Singh who was born on this day (August 29). It is officially declared as National Sports Day.
Arjuna Award was also given to 15 sportspersons which included the likes of Olympian runner Lalita Babar, cricketer Ajinkya Rahane, boxer Shiva Thapa and wrestler Vinesh Phogat.
Athlete Satti Geetha, hockey player Sylvanus Dung Dung and Rower Rajendra Pralhad Shelke were given the Dhyanchand Award.
The Dronacharya Award – given to coaches of high achieving sportspersons and for their contribution to nurturing talent – was given to Nagapuri Ramesh for Athletics, Sagar Mal Dhayal for Boxing and Raj Kumar Sharma for Cricket. Karmakar’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi also received the award.
The Dronacharya Award for Lifetime contribution will be given to S. Pradeep Kumar for Swimming and Mahabir Singh for Wrestling.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met the awardees at his residence to congratulate them for the achievements and contribution to Indian sport.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ranta: PV Sindhu (badminton), Dipa Karmakar (gymnastics), Jitu Rai (shooting) and Sakshi Malik (wrestling).
Dronacharya Awards: Nagapuri Ramesh (athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (cricket), Bishweshwar Nandi (gymnastics), S Pradeep Kumar (swimming, lifetime achievement) and Mahabir Singh (wrestling, lifetime achievement).
Arjuna Awards: Rajat Chauhan (archery), Lalita Babar (athletics), Sourav Kothari (billiards and snooker), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (cricket), Subrata Paul (football), Rani (hockey), VR Raghunath (hockey), Gurpreet Singh (shooting), Apurvi Chandela (shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (table tennis), Vinesh (wrestling), Amit Kumar (wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (para-athletics), Virender Singh (wrestling, deaf).
Dhyan Chand Award: Satti Geetha (athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (hockey), Rajendra Pralhad Shelke (rowing).