President Ram Nath Kovind on August 29 conferred the National Sports awards on the occasion of National Sports Day at a specially organized function through virtual mode from Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Kovind presented Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar.
An unprecedented five India athletes – 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 country’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
The award winners were connected to President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan from nine different Sports Authority of India (SAI) designated locations.
Rohit Sharma, who is in the UAE for IPL 2020, could not attend the virtual ceremony as the process only allowed the ones currently in the country to take part.
Wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who was supposed to be present in Sonepat, also did not attend the virtual ceremony as had to be in quarantine after she tested positive for COVID-19 on August 28.
India’s current limited overs vice-captain is the fourth male cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to get the prestigious Khel Ratna.