For the first time since the inception of the Rajiv Khel Ratna Award in 1991, three sportspersons -- four-time world boxing champion Mangte Chungneijang Marykom, Olympic bronze medallists boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar -- will receive the country's highest sporting honour.
The only other time more than one sportsperson was bestowed the award was in 2002-03 when shooter Anjali Vedpathak and athlete KM Beenamol shared it.
The sports ministry also announced the list of 15 Arjuna Award winners on Wednesday.
India's opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, world No 6 badminton player Saina Nehwal and trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi, who equalled the world record, are among those selected for the Arjuna Award.
The selection committee headed by former table tennis player Indu Puri also selected Olympic medallist Sushil's coach Satpal and former All England Badminton champion and Saina's coach Pullela Gopichand for the Dronacharya Award.
The prize money for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyanchand Awards have been increased.
Khel Ratna prize money has been hiked from Rs 500,000 to Rs 750,000 while Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyanchand Awards prize money has been increased from Rs 300,000 to Rs 500,000.
List of awardees:
Rajiv Khel Ratna: MC Marykom (boxer), Vijender Kumar (boxer) and Sushil Kumar (wrestling)
Arjuna Award: Mangal Singh Champia (archery), Sinimol Paulose (athletics), Saina Nehwal (badminton), L Saritha Devi (boxing), Tania Sachdeva (chess), Gautam Gambhir (cricket), Ignatius Tirkey (hockey), Surinder Kaur (hockey), Pankaj Shirsat (kabaddi), Satish Joshi (rowing), Ranjan Sodhi (shooting), Poulami Ghatak (table tennis), Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling), GL Yadav (yachting), Parul Parmar (badminton disabled)
Dronacharya Award: Baldev Singh (hockey), Jaidev Bisht (boxing), Satpal (wrestling) and Pullela Gopichand (badminton)
Dhyanchand Award: Ishar Singh Deol (athletics), Satbir Singh Dahya (wrestling)