Olympic bronze-winning Indian men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh was on Tuesday added to the list of Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna awardees, taking the total number of this year’s winners to an unparalleled 12, with the ceremony scheduled for November 13 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Manpreet was originally recommended for the Arjuna award but he joined veteran goalkeeper P R Sreejesh as the second hockey player in the list of awardees for the highest sporting honour.
The other prominent Khel Ratna winners this year include Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra and Olympic silver-medallist wrestler Ravi Dahiya.
Among 35 Arjuna awardees are most of India’s Paralympic medal winners and cricketers Shikhar Dhawan and Mithali Raj.
“The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 13th November, 2021 (Saturday) at 1630 hrs,” the sports ministry announced.
READ: Neeraj Chopra, Mithali Raj and Sunil Chhetri among 12 recommended for Khel Ratna Award
It was held online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Khel Ratna award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performances by a sportsperson over a period of previous four years.
Given the unprecedented Olympic and Paralympic performance, the number of awardees was expected to be high this year.
India won seven medals in the Olympics and notched up 19 medals, including five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals at the Paralympics in the country’s best ever show at the two sporting extravaganzas.
A total of 10 coaches were picked for the Dronacharya awards.
In the life-time achievement category, T. P. Ouseph (Athletics), Sarkar Talwar (Cricket), Sarpal Singh (Hockey), Ashan Kumar (Kabaddi) and Tapan Kumar Panigrahi (Swimming) were picked for the honour.
The winners in the regular Dronacharya category were: Radhakrishnan Nair P (Athletics), Sandhya Gurung (Boxing), Pritam Siwach (Hockey), Jai Prakash Nautiyal (Para Shooting) and Subramanian Raman (Table Tennis).
Gurung, besides being an assistant coach in the national camp, is also the personal coach of Olympic bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain, who will receive the Khel Ratna just a year after being bestowed the Arjuna award.
Sajjan Singh (Wrestling) was selected for Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime achievement along with former world and Asian champion boxer Lekha K.C, Abhijeet Kunte (Chess), Davinder Singh Garcha (Hockey) and Vikas Kumar (Kabaddi).
This year’s awards selection committee was headed by Justice (Retd.) Mukundakam Sharma (former Judge of Supreme Court) and included three-time Paralympic medal-winning javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, former cricketer Venkatesh Prasad, and ex-world champion boxer L Sarita Devi among others.
Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award: Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Ravi Kumar(Wrestling), Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), P.R Sreejesh (Hockey), Avani Lekhara (Para Shooting), Sumit Antil (Para Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para Badminton), Krishna Nagar (Para Badminton), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting), Mithali Raj (Cricket), Sunil Chhetri (Football), Manpreet Singh (Hockey).
Arjuna Awards: Arpinder Singh (Athletics), Simranjit Kaur (Boxing), Shikhar Dhawan (Cricket), CA Bhavani Devi (Fencing), Monika (Hockey), Vandana Katariya (Hockey), Sandeep Narwal (Kabaddi), Himani Uttam Parab (Mallakhamb), Abhishek Verma (Shooting), Ankita Raina (Tennis), Deepak Punia (Wrestling), Dilpreet Singh (Hockey), Harman Preet Singh (Hockey), Rupinder Pal Singh (Hockey), Surender Kumar (Hockey), Amit Rohidas (Hockey), Birendra Lakra (Hockey), Sumit (Hockey), Nilakanta Sharma (Hockey), Hardik Singh (Hockey), Vivek Sagar Prasad (Hockey), Gurjant Singh (Hockey), Mandeep Singh (Hockey), Shamsher Singh (Hockey), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (Hockey), Varun Kumar (Hockey), Simranjeet Singh (Hockey), Yogesh Kathuniya (Para Athletics) Nishad Kumar (Para Athletics), Praveen Kumar(Para Athletics), Suhash Yathiraj (Para Badminton) Singhraj Adhana (Para Shooting), Bhavina Patel (Para Table Tennis), Harvinder Singh (Para Archery) and Sharad Kumar (Para Athletics).
Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar: Manav Rachna Educational Institution and Indian Oil Corporation Limited for encouragement to sports through Corporate Social Responsibility.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy: Panjab University, Chandigarh.