Neeraj Chopra leads star cast; Para-athletes feted like never before at National Sports awards

Twelve of India's finest sportspersons, including the likes of Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra and Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, were conferred with Khel Ratna award on Saturday.

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra receives the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award from President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday.   -  Twitter @rashtrapatibhvn

Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra led the star cast at the National Sports Awards presentation ceremony but para-athletes stole the show at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan on Saturday.

Neeraj was among the 12 recipients of the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award from the President Ram Nath Kovind The award carries a medallion, a certificate and Rs. 25 lakh.

Each time the name of a para-athlete was announced the large gathering, that included Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, cheered loudly.

However, Khel Ratna recipient Krishna Nagar, gold medallist in para badminton in the Tokyo Paralympics this year, could not attend the function. He rushed back home on Friday night on receiving the news of the passing away of his mother.

Defending cheers were reserved for Sajjan Singh (wrestling) and Davinder Singh Garcha, a member of the 1980 Olympic hockey gold winning team, when their names were announced to receive the Dhyan Chand award.

Each year, the ceremony honours the winners the Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar and the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy receive the honour.

The complete list of awardees:

Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award (Rs. 25 lakh): Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Ravi Kumar (Wrestling), Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), PR Sreejesh (Hockey), Avani Lekhara (Para Shooting), Sumit Antil (Para Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para Badminton), Krishna Nagar (Para Badminton), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting), Mithali Raj (Cricket), Sunil Chhetri (Football) and Manpreet Singh (Hockey).

Arjuna Awards (Rs. 15 lakh): Arpinder Singh (Athletics), Simranjit Kaur (Boxing), Shikhar Dhawan (Cricket), Bhavani Devi (Fencing), Monika (Hockey), Vandana Katariya (Hockey), Sandeep Narwal (Kabaddi), Himani Uttam Parab (Mallakhamb), Abhishek Verma (Shooting), Ankita Raina (Tennis), Deepak Punia (Wrestling), Dilpreet Singh (Hockey), Harman Preet Singh (Hockey), Rupinder Pal Singh (Hockey), Surender Kumar (Hockey), Amit Rohidas (Hockey), Birendra Lakra (Hockey), Sumit (Hockey), Nilakanta Sharma (Hockey), Hardik Singh (Hockey), Vivek Sagar Prasad (Hockey), Gurjant Singh (Hockey), Mandeep Singh (Hockey), Shamsher Singh (Hockey), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (Hockey), Varun Kumar (Hockey), Simranjeet Singh (Hockey), Yogesh Kathuniya (Para Athletics) Nishad Kumar (Para Athletics), Praveen Kumar (Para Athletics), Suhash Yathiraj (Para Badminton) Singhraj Adhana (Para Shooting), Bhavina
Patel (Para Table Tennis), Harvinder Singh (Para Archery) and Sharad Kumar (Para Athletics).

Dronacharya Award life-time achievement for coaches (15 Lakh): T. P. Ouseph (Athletics), Sarkar Talwar (Cricket), Sarpal Singh (Hockey), Ashan Kumar (Kabaddi) and Tapan Kumar Panigrahi (Swimming).

Dronacharya Award - Regular category (Rs 10 Lakh each): Radhakrishnan Nair (Athletics), Sandhya Gurung (Boxing), Pritam Siwach (Hockey), Jai Prakash Nautiyal (Para Shooting) and  Subramanian Raman (Table Tennis).

Dhyan Chand Award (10 Lakh):  Lekha K.C. (Boxing),  Abhijeet Kunte (Chess), Davinder Singh Garcha (Hockey) and Vikas Kumar (Kabaddi) and Sajjan Singh (Wrestling).

Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar:

1. Identification and nurturing of budding and young talent - Manav
Rachna Educational Institution.
2. Encouragement to sports through Corporate Social Responsibility -
Indian Oil Corporation.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy (Rs. 15 lakh): Punjab University (Chandigarh).

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