Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award renamed after hockey Dhyan Chand

NEW DELHI: India’s highest sporting honour Khel Ratna Award, which was named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been renamed as The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games.

This renaming comes at a time when the Indian hockey of both the men’s and women’s teams have been displayed exceptional performance in the Tokyo Olympics capturing the imagination of our entire nation.

It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for "spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years" at the international level and along the award comes with a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on Twitter with his tweet, "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! Jai Hind!"

Modi in another tweet said, "The exceptional performance of the Men’s and Women’s Hockey Team has captured the imagination of our entire nation. There is a renewed interest towards Hockey that is emerging across the length and breadth of India. This is a very positive sign for the coming times."

While the ruling BJP hailed the announcement made by Modi with Home Minister Amit Shah calling it a true tribute to one of India’s greatest sportspersons, the Congress too welcomed it but accused Modi of having 'myopic political motive' and sarcastically demanded that he should also change stadiums named after him and late BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, "I am not surprised at all. I was even hoping that they would rename it (Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award) after Narendra Modi, as they did with Sardar Patel stadium." 


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