Hailing their superlative performances at Rio Olympics 2016, the Sports Ministry has announced that India’s two medal winners – shuttler PV Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik — will receive the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. For her splendid fourth place finish, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jitu Rai too will get the Khel Ratna award. This is is the first time that Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna will be awarded to four sportspersons.
Considered as the country’s highest sporting honour, the Khel Ratna award is conferred on a sportsperson for outstanding performance over a period of four years. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh along with a medal and a citation.
Dipa’s coach Bisheshwar Nandi has been selected for the Dronacharya award along side Team India skipper Virat Kohli’s coach Raj Kumar Sharma, athletics coach Nagapuri Ramesh and boxing coach Sagar Mal Dhayal.
Sindhu’s coach Pullela Gopichand received the coveted award in 2009, while Sakshi’s coach Kuldeep Singh has been overlooked for the award. The Dronacharya awards for lifetime will be awarded to veteran swimming coach S. Pradeep Kumar and wrestling coach Mahabir Singh. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh each with a medal and a citation.
India star middle order batsman and Test vice captain Ajinkya Rahane will be conferred on with the Arjuna Award alongside archer Rajat Chauhan, athlete Lalita Babar, cueist Sourav Kothari, boxer Shiva Thapa, footballer Subrata Paul, hockey stars VR Raghunath and Rani Rampal, shooters Gurpreet Singh, Apurvi Chandela, paddler Somyajit Ghosh, wrestlers Vinesh Phohat, Amit Kumar, Para-athletes Sandeep Singh Maan and Virender Singh.
The award constitutes a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh and medal and a citation.
Athlete Satti Geetha will be conferred the Dhayan Chand award along with hockey player Sylvanus Dung Dung and rower Rajendra Pralhad Shelke. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh, a medal and a citation. President Pranab Mukherjee will give away the awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 29, which is celebrated as the National Sports Day.