Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award: The sports world has welcomed the decision to name India’s highest sports honor Khel Ratna award as Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna in place of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. Dhyan Chand is considered to be the greatest hockey player. The hockey wizard won the top Olympic title in 1928, 1932 and 1936 during his career from 1926 to 1949. The country’s National Sports Day is also celebrated on 29 August to commemorate his birth anniversary.
Anju Bobby George, India’s only athletics medalist at the World Championships and the recipient of the award in 2003, said sports awards should be named after sportspersons. He said, “It is high time we name our sports awards after the legends of our sport. This is the right move. Dhyan Chand is our sports hero and hockey legend and hockey is our national sport. It is only right that The country’s highest sports award has been named after Dhyan Chand at a time when India won an Olympic medal in hockey after 41 years.
Appreciating this decision, former hockey captain Ajitpal Singh said that the recognition was received late but it was late. He said, “It is a welcome step. It is a good decision that the Prime Minister has taken. Sports awards should always be in the name of sportspersons and there is no sportsperson in the country bigger than Dhyan Chand ji. This recognition came late, but Better late than never.”
Olympic bronze medalist boxer Vijender Singh said that giving respect to Dhyan Chand ji is a good thing but it is not enough to raise the standard of sports in the country. He said, “There is nothing against this move, as we all respect the immense contribution of Dhyan Chand ji. But the government should do more than this to support the players. They need facilities at the basic level, Unless we can do that, just changing the name of the awards won’t make much difference.”
Let us inform that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that the Khel Ratna Award will now be called Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, respecting the sentiments of the countrymen. After the impressive performance of the Indian hockey teams in the Tokyo Olympics, it was decided to name this honor after the great hockey player.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said that Dhyan Chand has been India’s biggest hero in sports. He said, “Major Dhyan Chand ji gave a new identity to India on the world stage with his extraordinary game and became an inspiration for countless sportspersons. Hearty congratulations to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji for conferring the Khel Ratna award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in view of public sentiment. Thank you.”
Former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also thanked the Prime Minister for this step, writing, “Thank you Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji for always respecting and recognizing our true heroes. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest sports award of our country. A true tribute to a great player and honoring Indian sports. Jai Hind.”
Former India cricketer-turned-MP Gautam Gambhir said, “The name of a (sports) hero makes the award more prestigious.” At the same time, Olympic medalist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt also thanked the Prime Minister for this step, saying, “I am in India for the decision to keep the country’s best sportsperson and hockey wizard ‘Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna’, the biggest sports award. Hearty thanks to the government and respected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji.