HomeSports 2.0From Arjuna to Khel Ratna: List of India’s National Sports Awards
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From Arjuna to Khel Ratna: List of India’s National Sports Awards

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One of the biggest honors for a sportsperson/organization other than individual medals and trophies in their respective sport is being recognized by the country and its Government. The sports fraternity’s contribution to sports is awarded by the Indian government through various national sports awards. Here are the 6 Most Prestigious Sports Awards in India- Arjuna, Dronacharya, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, Dhyan Chand Award, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar Awards and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy.

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Sports Awards of India

The prestigious awards are awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The President of India presents the awards on National Sports Day, August 29th, the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honor in the country. The 5 most prestigious sports awards in India are:

List of Sports Awards of India

S.N

Indian Sports Awards

Instituted in

Reward

1

Arjuna Award

1961

Rs 15,00,000 /-

2

Dronacharya Award

1985

Rs 15,00,000 /-

3

Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award

1991-92

Rs 25,00,000 /-

4

Dhyan Chand Award

2002

Rs 10,00,000 /-

5

Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar

2009

A citation and a trophy

6

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy

1956-57

Rs. 15,00,000 /- and trophy

Sports Awards of India: Arjuna Award

sports awards of india _ Arjun Award, Khel Ratna award, Dhyan Chand, Arjuna, Dronacharya | KreedOn
Image Source: Indian Express
Instituted in: 1961

The award is named after Arjuna, a character from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata of ancient India. Arjuna is seen as a symbol of hard work, dedication, and concentration. It is an award to recognize excellent achievement in sports. Arjuna award is one of highest Sports awards of India.

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Rewards

It carries a cash prize of Rs 15,00,000 /-, A scroll, ceremonial dress, and a bronze statue of Arjuna

Eligibility

To get this Indian sports awards, a sportsperson should have had good performance consistently in the previous four years at events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championship, World Cup, Indigenous Games, and Parasports. 

Nomination

The nominations for the award are received from all government-recognized National Sports Federations, the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India, the state and the union territory governments, and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dhyan Chand, and Dronacharya awardees of the previous years.

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Revisions over the years
  • Over the years, the scope of this particular sports awards of India has been expanded and many athletes who belonged to the pre-Arjuna Award era were also included in the list. 
  • The number of disciplines for which the award is given was increased to include indigenous games and para-sports. 
  • The latest revision in 2018 includes that the award is given only to the disciplines included in the events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championship, and World Cup. 
  • Only fifteen awards to be presented in a year, relaxing in case of excellent performance in major multi-sport events, team sports across gender, and giving away at least one award to the physically challenged category.
Notable Recipients

A total of 941 sportspersons and 1 team have been conferred with this award. Some Notable recipients include-


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Sports awards of India: Dronacharya Award

Sports awards of India - Arjun Award, Khel Ratna Award, Dhyan Chand, Arjuna, Dronacharya | KreedOn
Image Source: HT
Instituted in: 1985

The award is named after Drona or “Dronacharya” a character from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata of ancient India. He was the master and guru of the Kaurava and Pandava Princes in the tale. It is an award to honor outstanding coaching abilities.

Rewards

It carries a cash prize of Rs 15,00,000 /-, A scroll, ceremonial dress, and a bronze statue of Dronacharya.

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Eligibility

This Indian sports award is given to the coaches of the disciplines included in the events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championship, World Cup, Indigenous Games, and Parasports. Based on Outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis and enabled athletes under their tutelage to excel in international events over a period of four years to twenty years.

Nomination

The nominations for this national sports award are received from all government-recognized National Sports Federations, the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India, and the state and the union territory governments with not more than two eligible coaches nominated for each sports discipline. The previous award recipients of Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, and Dhyan Chand Award can also nominate one coach for the discipline for which they themselves were awarded. A ten-member committee evaluates the nominations and later submits their recommendations to the Ministry for further approval.

Notable Recipients

A total of 136 coaches have been conferred with this national sports award. The first recipients of the award who were honored in 1985 were

Some Notable Recipients include-

  • Pullela Gopichand – Badminton
  • Mahavir Singh Phogat – Wrestling 
  • MK Kaushik – Hockey
  • Syed Nayeemuddin – Football

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Highest Sports awards in India: Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award

Sports awards of India - Arjun Award, Khel Ratna Award, Dhyan Chand, Arjuna, Dronacharya | KreedOn
Image Source: Asianet
Instituted in: 1991-92

This sports awards of India was originally named after the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In 2021, The Government decided to name it after Indian Hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time in the sport. It is highest sports awards in India and is awarded for spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports.

Rewards

It carries a cash prize of Rs 25,00,000 /-, A scroll, ceremonial dress, and a medallion.

Eligibility

In the past, the award was given for the performance by a sportsperson in a year. The Ministry revised the criteria in 2015 to consider the performance of a sportsperson over a period of four years. A twelve-member committee evaluates the performances of a sportsperson at various International events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games

Nomination

The nominations for the award are received from all government-recognized National Sports Federations, the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India, and the state and the union territory governments with not more than two eligible sports persons nominated for each sports discipline. 

Notable Recipients

A total of 58 sportspersons have been conferred with this highest sports awards in india. Chess Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand was the 1st Recipient of the Award in 1991-92. Cueist Pankaj Advani is the only recipient to be awarded 2 times, for Snooker and Billiards respectively.

Some notable recipients include-


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Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports

Dhyan Chand award - KreedOn

Instituted in: 2002

The award takes after Indian Hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time in the sport, scoring over 1000 goals in his career. It is the lifetime achievement sporting honor for the contribution to a sport both during an individual’s active sporting career and after retirement.

Rewards

It carries a cash prize of Rs 10,00,000 /-, A certificate, ceremonial dress, and a statue of  Dhyan Chand.

Eligibility

The Indian sports award is given only to individuals whose disciplines are included in the events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championship, World Cup, Indigenous Games, and Parasport for lifetime achievement sporting honor.

Nomination

The nominations for the award are received from all government-recognized National Sports Federations, the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India, and the state and the union territory governments. The previous award recipients of Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, and Dhyan Chand Award can also nominate. A nine-member committee evaluates the nominations and later submits their recommendations to the Sports Ministry for further approval. 

Notable Recipients

A total of 84 recipients have been conferred with this award. The first recipients of the award in 2002 were

  • Shahuraj Birajdar –Boxing
  • Ashok Diwan – Hockey
  • Aparna Ghosh – Basketball

Some Notable Recipients include-

  • Manpreet Singh – Kabaddi
  • Maruti Mane – Wrestling 
  • Syed Hakim – Football
  • Nandan Bal – Tennis
  • N Usha – Boxing
  • Sathi Geeta – Athletics 
  • Smita Yadav – Rowing
  • Sukhbir Singh Tokas – Para sports

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Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar

Sports awards of India - Arjun Award, Khel Ratna Award, Dhyan Chand, Arjuna, Dronacharya, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar - KreedOn
Image Source: Twitter
Instituted in: 2009

The name of the award in Hindi translates to National Sports Promotion Award. It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The award recognizes the involvement of corporates, voluntary organizations, and sports control boards in the promotion and development of sports in the country.

Categories

There are 4 categories for the award

  • Identification and nurturing of budding and young talent
  • Encouragement of sports through corporate social responsibility
  • Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures
  • Sports for development
Rewards

This sports award in India comprise a citation and a trophy in each of the 4 categories.

Notable Recipients

A total of 52 organizations and individuals have been conferred with this award.

Some notable recipients include-

  • Tata Steel
  • Services sports control board
  • U.K. Mishra
  • JSW sports
  • Usha School of athletics
  • Gopichand Badminton Academy
  • Army Institute of sports
  • International Institute of Sports Management
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
  • ONGC
  • Go Sports Foundation
  • RBI
  • Reliance Foundation

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Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy

Image Source: Facebook

Instituted in: 1956-57

The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy was established in 1956–1957 by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, as a running trophy. Each year, the President of India presents this ongoing trophy to the university with the highest overall sports performance in inter-university, national, and international tournaments.

Rewards

First-place winner receives a prize check for Rs. 15 lakhs. A total of Rs 7.5 lakh and Rs 4.5 lakh will be awarded to the second and third place winners, respectively.

Eligibility

  • The athlete must be enrolled in a recognised Indian university or one of its component colleges.
  • The participant must have competed for their college or institution in an intercollegiate competition sanctioned by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
  • At the inter-university competition, the athlete had to have won a gold, silver, or bronze medal in an individual event or made a substantial contribution to the success of their team in a team event.
  • The athlete must have maintained a strong academic standing and be free of any disciplinary actions from the previous academic year.

Notable recipients

  • Milkha Singh- Indian sprinter
  • P.T. Usha- Indian track and field athlete
  • Mithali Raj- Cricket
  • Jwala Gutta- Badminton
  • Dipa Karmakar- Gymnast
  • Manpreet Singh- Hockey

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FAQ

What are major National Sports Awards?

>Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
>Dronacharya Award
>Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports
>Arjuna Award
>Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy
>Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar

Which is the 1st sports award in India?

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy is the India’s oldest national sports award which was instituted in the year 1956–1957.

What is India’s highest sports award?

The Khel Ratna Award officially known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honor of India. The award is given annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, GOI.

Who got first Khel Ratna Award?

Legendary Chess Player, Viswanathan Anand is the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, in 1991-1992.

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Santhosh Narayan
Santhosh Narayan
Currently pursuing BBA in sports management, Passionate about sports who is also into fashion and sports writing. Ardent football and motorsports fan of FC Goa, Real Madrid and Scuderia Ferrari respectively

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