The 12 athletes including Neeraj Chopra, Ravi Dahiya and Sunil Chhetri will receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award on November 13. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will bestow the award at a function organized at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
This year, 12 sportspersons including Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), Ravi Kumar (Wrestling), PR Sreejesh (Hockey), Avani Lekhara (Para Shooting), Sumit Antil (Para-Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para Badminton), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting), Sunil Chhetri (Football), Manpreet Singh (Hockey), Mithali Raj (Cricket), and Krishna Nagar (Para Badminton) have been recommended for the Khel Ratna 2021.
The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is given for the most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
Manpreet Singh and Ravi Dahiya upgraded to Khel Ratna Award
Interestingly, Manpreet Singh and Ravi Dahiya had originally applied for the Arjuna award. However, given their exceptional performance at the Tokyo Olympics, the duo were upgraded to India’s highest sporting award.
Debutant Ravi Dahiya became only the second wrestler after Sushil Kumar to win a silver medal in wrestling.
The nominations for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award were considered by a selection committee. It is chaired by Justice (Retd.) Mukundakam Sharma (former Supreme Court judge, and eminent names from the journalism and sports administration.
"A large number of nominations were received for these awards this year, which were considered by a selection committee headed by Justice (Retd.) Mukundakam Sharma (former Judge of Supreme Court), consisting members from eminent sportspersons and persons having experience in sports journalism & sports administrator etc," the sports ministry’s statement read.
Apart from PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh, the remaining bronze medal winning men’s Hockey team has been awarded the Arjuna Award.
A total of 35 athletes have been awarded the Arjuna Award this year. The list included medal winners from the Olympics, Paralympics and cricketer Shikhar Dhawan.