List of Major National Sports Awards in India

Major National Sports Awards in India
National Sports Awards are the awards conferred to sportsmen who have made a mark in a certain sport.
Major National Sports Awards in India
National Sports Awards are the awards conferred to sportsmen who have made a mark in a certain sport.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. We have grown up listening to this quote which beautifully illustrates the importance of sports in our life. Sports are extremely essential for the active development of an individual’s brain as well as body. We all love to see our favorite sports stars in action, whether it is cricket, football or hockey. But, how often do they get honoured for their capabilities and talent. Well, there are quite a few awards conferred to sportsmen who have made a mark in a certain sport.

Let’s have a look at the major sports awards in India:

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2019

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is conferred in the memory of Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It is the highest rank National Sports Award in India. Started in the year 1991, this award was given to boost the morale and confidence of the players. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is presented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to the players for their exceptional performance in sports in India. Up to the year 2004, the recipients of the award were given a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs, which was increased to Rs. 7.5 lakhs in the year 2005. A medal and citation are given along with the cash prize to the player.

The first recipient of the award was Vishwanathan Anand in 1991-1992.

Karnam Malleswari was the first woman who was conferred Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for weightlifting in the year 1994-1995.

Pankaj Advani is the only player to receive this award for two different games- Snookers and Billiards.

Name of the Sportsperson Category
Bajrang Punia Wrestling
Deepa Malik Para-athlete

Arjuna Awards 2019

Conferred by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Arjuna Award is the oldest National Sports award in India which was instituted in the year 1961. This award is given to a person who has been consistent and has exhibited outstanding performance for four years in national and international games (including Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games).

The award is named after “Arjuna”, a famous archer dating back to the times of the Mahabharata. All the recipients of the Arjuna award are given a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll along with five lakh rupees cash prize.

Arjuna Award was first presented to six people in 1961 namely Saleem Durrani (Cricket), Gurucharan Singh Randhawa (Athletics), Sarabjeet Singh (Basketball), Manuel Aaron (Chess), Nandu Natekar (Badminton), and LB D’souza (Boxing).

Meena Shah (Badminton) was the first woman to get this award in 1962.

Krishna Das was the first recipient of Arjuna Award in the field of Archery in 1961.

Name of the Sportsperson Category
Ravindra Jadeja Cricket
Mohammed Anas Yahiya Athletics
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu Football
Sonia Lather Boxing
Chinglensana Singh Kangujam Hockey
S Bhaskaran Bodybuilding
Ajay Thakur Kabaddi
Anjum Moudgil Shooting
Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth Badminton
Tajinder Pal Singh Toor Athletics
Rahi Sarnobat Shooting
Pramod Bhagat Para Sports-Badminton
Harmeet Rajul Desai Table Tennis
Pooja Dhanda Wrestling
Fouaad Mirza Equestrian
Simran Singh Shergill Polo
Swapna Burman Athletics
Poonam Yadav Cricket
Sundar Singh Gurjar Para-Athletics
Gaurav Singh Gill Motorsports

Dronacharya Awards 2019

Behind every successful student, there is always a remarkable teacher and his prayers. To recognize the contribution of the coaches in sports, the government of India decided to give away the “Dronacharya Award” which is named after “Dronacharya”, an exceptional guru who trained the Pandavas. It is usually given to coaches who have produced medal winners at prestigious national and international sports events.

The winners of the award are presented a statue of Dronacharya, ceremonial dress and a certificate along with a cash prize of five lakh rupees.

Bhalachandra Bhaskar Bhagwat (Wrestling), Om Prakash Bhardwaj (Boxing), O. M. Nambiar (Athletics) were the first recipients of the award who were honoured in 1985.

Name of the Coach Category
Mohinder Singh Dhillon Athletics
Sandeep Gupta Table Tennis
Vimal Kumar Badminton
Sanjay Bhardwaj Cricket (Life Time)
Rambir Singh Khokar Kabaddi (Life Time)
Mezban Patel Hockey (LIfe Time)

Dhyanchand Awards 2019

Dhyanchand Award which is officially known as Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games is the highest award for lifetime achievement in the field of sports. This award is named after Major Dhyanchand who was not only a soldier in the Indian Army but was also an Indian field hockey player who scored more than 1000 goals in a career span of 20 years. Instituted in the year 2002, this award is conferred annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The recipients of this award are selected on the basis of their contribution to sports both during their active sporting career and after retirement. Dhyanchand awardees are given a cash prize of five lakhs rupees along with a medal and certificate.

The award is not conferred upon more than three sportspersons in a year (though exceptions were there in 2003, 2012, 2013 and 2019).

Name of the Sportsperson Category
Manoj Kumar Wrestling
C Lalremsanga Archery
Arup Basak Table Tennis
Manuel Fredricks Hockey
Nitten Kirrtane Tennis

The monetary benefits which come along with these awards may not be substantial but the respect, honor, and pride which comes along are absolutely unfathomable. Receiving these awards from the government of the country not only boosts the morale of the youth but also provides them an impetus to perform exceptionally well in the games.