Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for Olympics 2016 Heroes

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar, Jitu Rai


Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar, Jitu Rai

National Sports Awards recognizes and rewards excellence in sports every year.  Of all the awards, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award officially known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games, is the highest sporting honour in the Republic of India, given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.

This year it was indeed a celebration of women power with three women receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar were conferred with India’s highest sporting honour for their outstanding performance in the Rio Olympics. While PV Sindhu became the first woman participant to win silver in badminton in the recently held Olympics, Sakshi won a bronze in wrestling. Though Dipa Karmakar missed the medal in Artistic Gymnastics, she created history by becoming the first female participant from India in this category, and reached the final round, losing by a very narrow margin at the fourth position with her famous Produnova vault.

History was again made this year with four sports personalities receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. Jitu Rai was the fourth sportsman to receive the highest honour in sports for his performance in Shooting at the Rio Olympics. In 2009 three sportspersons were accorded this award including boxers Vijender Singh and M C Mary Kom, and wrestler Sushil Kumar.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratan

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, instituted in 1991-92, is named after the erstwhile Prime Minister of India (1984-1989), and is awarded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This award is conferred to sportspersons who have shown an outstanding performance at international level over a period of four years. The award consists of a certificate, a medallion and a cash prize of 7.5 lakh. The procedure for nomination and selection are as follows:

  • The nominations for the award are received from all government recognised National Sports Federations, the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the Sports Promotion and Control Boards, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the state and the union territory governments.
  • Only two eligible sportspersons can be nominated for each category.
  • The list of nominees is sent to SAI (Sports Authority of India) and National Anti-Doping Agency, where the verification process is conducted.
  • A 12-member committee evaluates the performance of the valid nominations.
  • Performance in international events such as Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Paralympics’ Games, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games, which is given 80% weightage, is taken into a consideration.
  • The remaining 20% is given on the basis of the profile and standard of the events that the sportsperson has participated in.
  • The recommendations are then submitted with the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports for further approval.

While Vishwanath Anand holds the honour of being the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1991-1992,  Abhinav Bindra became the youngest recipient of this award at 18 years of age in 2001.

The National Sports Awards also constitutes the following awards:

  • Arjuna Award for consistent outstanding performance in sports over a period of four years.
  • The Dronacharya Award accorded to coaches who help in training the medal winners in different international sports events.
  • Dhyan Chand Award is awarded for lifetime contribution towards sports development.
  • Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Purskar is accorded to private and public corporate entities that contribute significantly towards the promotion and development of sports.
  • There is also an award for inter-university championship called the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy.

The Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awardees receive trophies, certificates and a cash prize of 5 lakh, while the MAKA trophy comes with award money of 10 lakh. The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar recepients are awarded with trophies and certificates.

The Ceremony

A gleaming awards ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the 29th of August, 2016, and the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred the deserving athletes with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna along with the other National Sports Awards.

This year there were many nominations for the various awards, and the selection committees headed by Justice S.K. Agarwal, retired Delhi High Court Judge, for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and the Arjuna Award, and M.C. Mary Kom for the Dronacharya Award and the Dhyan Chand Award selected the following players for the awards:

  • PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and Jitu Rai received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
  • Nagapuri Ramesh (Athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (Boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (Cricket), Bishweshwar Nandi (Gymnastics), S. Pradeep Kumar (Swimming), Mahabir Singh (Wrestling) were accorded the Dronacharya Award.
  • Virender Singh, Sandeep Singh Mann, Amit Kumar, Vinesh Poghat, Soumyajit Ghosh, Apurvi Chandela, Gurpreet Singh, V R Raghunath, Subrata Paul, Rani, Ajinkya Rahane, Shiva Thapa, Sourav Kothari, Lalita Babar, Rajat Chauhan were conferred the Arjuna Award for outstanding performance in various discipline of sports.
  • Satti Geetha (Athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (Hockey), Rajendra Pralhad Shelke ( Rowing) were awarded the Dhyan Chand Award.
  • Punjab University won the MAKA Trophy.


PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar have proved that nothing is impossible if there is grit and determination in a person. Each of them has created history in their own way. It is time for young parents to realise that Sports can also be a career option for their children. India needs good sportsperson to represent it at international level. It is time now to encourage the young to take up any sports that they may have the knack for, professionally, and work towards bringing India more laurels.

 Read More:

Sports Awards in India
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
Biography of P.V. Sindhu
Biography of Sakshi Malik
List of Participating Indian Athletes for Rio Paralympics 2016
What India can learn from Dipa Karmakar
Biography of Devendra Jhajharia
Why the performance of India is so poor in Olympics?
India Performance in Rio Olympics 2016