Sports Minister Anurag Thakur handed over the trophy to the winners of the National Sports Awards 2020 on Monday as the award ceremony was held online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winners of the National Sports Awards 2020 were already given cash prizes but were unable to collect their trophies and citations due to the pandemic. The Sports Ministry had on August 29 last year given 74 National Sports Awards which included five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (now renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna) and 27 Arjuna Awards.
Women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, star wrestler Vinesh Phogat and 2016 Paralympic gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu, among others who were awarded the prestigious Khel Ratna award, were among the awardees who took part in the ceremony on Monday. Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist boxer Lovlina Borgohain, cricketer Ishant Sharma, runner Dutee Chand, archer Atanu Das and badminton players Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were among the recipients of the Arjuna Award trophy.
Receiving the Khel Ratna award today was surreal. As I walked back to my seat, holding the award, I was transported back to the years when I tooled for basic equipment, sometimes even basic nutrition required to become a hockey player. pic.twitter.com/tLFGVmVgmI
— Rani Rampal (@imranirampal) November 1, 2021
Thakur said during the function, “National Sports Awards are prestigious awards which sportspersons get after years of dedication and hard work. Congratulations to all the award winners and best wishes for their future plans. The journey of award winners will not end here and more achievements will be made.
“We should continue the process of finding and nurturing talented players and enable them to win medals at the international level,” he said. That’s why I urge all the players to take a pledge to nurture and train five such players who can win medals for India in future. Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, Youth Affairs Secretary Usha Sharma and top officials of the Ministry and Sports Authority of India also participated in the function.