PM Modi congratulates National Sports Awards winners
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday congratulated all the winners who were conferred the National Sports Awards, saying their success continues to inspire the up and coming generation of sportspersons in the country.
“Congratulations to all the talented sportspersons who have been conferred the National Sports and Adventure Awards 2020! There is much to learn from these athletes. Their successes inspire many budding sportspersons. Best wishes to the award winners for their future endeavours,” he tweeted.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time in history, the National Sports Awards ceremony was held virtually. The award winners were connected virtually to President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan from nine different Sports Authority of India-designated locations. An unprecedented five India athletes – cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, para-athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu, women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, and paddler Manika Batra – were virtually conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
The top Arjuna awardees this year included star sprinter Dutee Chand, woman cricketer Deepti Sharma, golfer Aditi Ashok and men’s hockey team striker Akashdeep Singh.
The Dronacharya award in the life-time category was bestowed on eight coaches, the prominent among them being archery coach Dharmendra Tiwary, Naresh Kumar (tennis), Shiv Singh (boxing) and Romesh Pathania (hockey).
The athletes can look forward to enhanced cash awards this year. The prize money for the Khel Ratna was increased to Rs 25 lakh from the previous amount of Rs 7.5 lakh this morning.
Arjuna awardees, 22 of who attended the ceremony, were given Rs 15 lakh, which is Rs 10 lakh more than the previous sum. The Dronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given Rs 5 lakh, were awarded Rs 15 lakh, while the regular Dronacharya came with Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh per awardee.