khel ratna: Record 600 athletes, coaches apply for sports awards honours | More sports News – Times of India
NEW DELHI: The sports ministry’s corridors are overflowing with a record number of applications for the national sports awards. Around 600 athletes and coaches have staked claim for this year’s Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyanchand honours in a bloated awards season, TOI has learned. The deluge of applications has broken the previous year’s count of over 400 applications.
The ministry officials have been working overtime to sieve through the applicants’ credentials and recommend the shortlisted names to the awards selection committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Mukundakum Sharma.
A whopping 35 applications have alone been received for the rechristened Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award this year, when the ministry’s own guidelines stipulate for the nomination of up to two sportspersons in deserving cases. For the Arjuna, a record 215 athletes have applied for the honour when the ministry reserves the right to nominate up to 15 sportspersons.
Similarly, in the Dronacharya lifetime category, the ministry has received another record number of over 100 applications, while in the Dronacharya regular category, the number of applicants is around 48. For the Dhyanchand lifetime achievement award, the ministry has received a total of 138 applications. In the scheme for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar to encourage corporate involvement in the development of sports in the country, a total of 36 corporate entities, NGOs and other sports promotion establishments have applied for the honour.
With this being the Olympics and Paralympics year and the Indian athletes returning with their best-ever medal show in both the multi-sport events in Tokyo, the ministry was anyway bracing up for a barrage of applications, but the officials had not bargained for this deluge..
The enhancement of cash prizes for the sports awards also played its part in driving the interest among applicants to apply in record numbers.
The prize money for the Khel Ratna was last year increased to Rs 25 lakh from the previous amount of Rs 7.5 lakh. Arjuna awardees were given Rs 15 lakh, which was Rs 10 lakh more than the previous amount. It’s been learned that the ministry would recommend to the awards committee that the gold medal winners at the Olympics and Paralympics be straightaway considered for the Khel Ratna.
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