In a first of its kind virtual National Sports Award took place due to pandemic and, 74 Indians are conferred with National Sports Award by president Ramnath Kovind.
0 out of the 74 attended the virtual ceremony conducted across 11 Sports Authority of India (SAI) centers in various cities. Khel Ratna winners Rani Rampal (Hockey), Manika Batra (TT), Mariyappan Thangavelu (Athletics) attended the ceremony. Cricketer Rohit Sharma missed due to the busy IPL schedule.
#NationalSportsAwards: Congratulations to Hockey player @imranirampal on winning the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2020. She led and inspired the women's hockey team in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.@KirenRijiju @DGSAI @RijijuOffice @PIB_India @PMOIndia @IndiaSports @YASMinistry pic.twitter.com/4Ho9j9r3z6
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) August 29, 2020
President Kovind applauded, as names of the attending awardees were called out and their achievements cited as is the convention. “This is the first awards ceremony in COVID times during which the President has participated,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said at the beginning of the ceremony.
The prize money for the Khel Ratna has increased to Rs 25 lakh from the previous amount of Rs 7.5 lakh. Arjuna awardees, 22 of who attended the ceremony, were given Rs 15 lakh, which is Rs 10 lakh more than the previous sum. The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given Rs 5 lakh, were awarded Rs 15 lakh, while the regular Dhronacharya came with Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh per awardee. Dhyanchand Awardees were given Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh.