Discover India - Sports Awards in India

Sports awards in India are given by the Sports Ministry of India to honour the players who have performed extraordinarily in their field of sport. It is done so as to enhance the player's spirit and recognize his or her achievements. The awards are annually presented on the National Sports Day of India which is celebrated on 29 August, the birthday of legendary hockey star Dhyan Chand. The President of India gives away the awards on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Notable Sports Awards 

Some of the prestigious and notable awards are: 

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: This is India's highest sporting honour. It is given to the best sportsperson across all the sport disciplines in that year. The words "Khel Ratna" literally translate to "Sports Gem". The award is named after the late Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. 

Arjuna Award: The Arjuna Award was instituted in 1961. It is given to the best sportsperson in each sport every year. It is named after Arjuna, the famous archer in the epic Mahabharata.

Dronacharya Award: Instituted in 1985, it is an award presented for excellence in sports coaching. It is named after Dronacharya, Guru of Arjuna, in the epic Mahabharata.

Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award: Instituted in 1993, this award is given to individuals excelling in adventure activities on land, sea and air. It is named after Tenzing Norgay, one of the first two individuals to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 along with Edmund Hillary.

Dhyan Chand Award: Instituted in 2002, this is India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games. The award is named after the legendary Indian hockey player Dhyan Chand. He won three consecutive Olympic gold medals for Indian team in 1928, 1932 and 1936 and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Award: This rolling trophy is given for the best performance in sports amongst the Universities in the country. It is named after the first Education Minister of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It was instituted in 1956-57.

The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar: This is a new award instituted in 2009. It is presented to recognise the contribution made to sports by entities other than sportspersons and coaches.

New look for awards

The trophies of the national sports awards have undergone a design change this year to give them a new look. The re-designed statuettes are made of bronze affixed on ebony wooden base. The statuettes have been polished so as to give them an antique look to highlight the age of the characters that are sought to be depicted.

The trophy for Arjuna award shows the Pandav (Arjuna) aiming for a fish while looking at its reflection in water, Dronacharya shows the guru guiding his student's aim. Dhyan Chand award is a statuette of Major Dhyan Chand, the hockey icon. Similarly, the statuette for Adventure Award is designed after Tenzing Norgay, the most famous mountain climbers in history.

The medal given to Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardees has also been redesigned. The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar award is designed as a torch with a bronze and silver base.

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