Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday officially announced a massive hike in the prize money in four of the seven categories of the National Sports and Adventure Awards, which were given away in a virtual ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The prize money for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been increased to a whopping Rs 25 lakh from the previous amount of Rs 7.5 lakh, while Arjuna Award has been enhanced to Rs 15 lakh from Rs 5 lakh.
The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given Rs 5 lakh, will now be richer by Rs 15 lakh, while Dhronacharya (Regular) winners will be given Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh.
The prize money of Dhyan Chand Award has been increased to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 5 lakh.
The hike will come into effect from this year.
“The prize money for the Sports Awards was last reviewed in 2008. These amounts should be reviewed once every 10 years at least. If professionals in every field have seen an enhancement in their earnings, why not our sportspersons,” Rijiju said in a release.
Star cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal, paddler Manika Batra and Rio Paralympic gold-winning high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu are part of an unprecedented five picked for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year.
Besides, a whopping 27 athletes have been chosen for the Arjuna Award, while 13 coaches will be conferred with the Dronacharya Award and 15 others have been short-listed for the Dhyan Chand honour.
Rijiju defends govt’s decision to confer Sports Awards to record 74 winners
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also defended his government’s decision to confer a record 74 National Sports Awards this year, including an unprecedented five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna honours, a move which faced severe criticism from all quarters.
This year, the Sports Ministry’s selection committee recommended five athletes, including star cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat among others for the Khel Ratna, while selecting 27 for the Arjuna awards. The ministry will also honour 13 coaches for the Dronacharya and 15 for Dhyan Chand awards.
“The performance of our athletes in the international level has become better. When our players perform better, they have to be recognized and rewarded. If the Govt doesn’t recognise their achievements, it will discourage every budding sporting talents we have in India,” Rijiju said on Saturday.