Prime Minister Narendra Modi has renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award after Major Dyan Chand. The Khel Ratna Award will now be called the "Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award". It is India's highest sporting honor.
Major Dhyan Chand is the most prolific name in Indian field hockey and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
Major Dhyan Chand has been a part of the Indian Olympic squad three times - 1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles and 1936 Berlin Summer Games.
PM Modi announced the honor on his social media platform:
"I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views."
"Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award!"
Also read: India in Tokyo Olympics 2021 India Schedule
Olympic glory in Tokyo can revitalise Indian sports
Dhyan Chand was the star of Indian hockey in its heyday. After an extended period of dominance in the 20th century, Indian hockey lost its spark in the early 1980s. The national sport of India continued to wane in quality and popularity in the 21st century.
However, Indian hockey has seen its resurgance during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. It has been a long uphill battle for these current crop players. The Indian men's hockey team presented an undaunted show at the Tokyo Summer Games, clinching a bronze medal at the showpiece event.
Even though the women's team were unanchored towards the end of their bronze medal match today, their brave display has won the heart of the nation. India has managed to impress in other sports as well in the on-going Tokyo Olympics.
With Mirabai Chanu winning silver, PV Sindhu making consecutive medal-winning history, Ravi Dahiya clinching silver and men's hockey reviving Indian history in the sport with a bronze medal, the Indian contingent has already made a mark in Tokyo.
What better occasion than these glorious Olympic moments to rename India's biggest sporting award?
The eternal Major Dhyan Chand, the most decorated and legendary sportsperson in India, has ascended sports in India. Today, the whole sporting fraternity will be beholden to the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.