Amidst pandemic, like every other industry, sports are slowly returning to action. The cash-rich cricket league, Indian Premier League 2020, is being held in UAE due to COVID-19. Badminton players have also returned to training at Pullela Gopichand Academy. The good news is in the line and one more reason for fans to celebrate. Early this week, the Sports Ministry of India announced the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for 2020.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is being conferred on the birth anniversary of Major Dhyanchand, an esteemed hockey player in the history of India. The prolific Indian cricketer, Rohit Sharma is among the five winners and becomes the fourth Indian cricketer to receive the prestigious award after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli. Upon receiving the award, he tweeted:
I am very happy and feel privileged to receive this honor. I promise to keep working hard. Fans are my support system & I am sure they will keep backing us.
I am very happy and feel privileged to receive this honour. I promise to keep working hard. Fans are my support system & I am sure they will keep backing us: @ImRo45 on his Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honour. pic.twitter.com/30d6vb6WMz— BCCI (@BCCI) August 27, 2020
Along with Rohit Sharma, Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat, women’s hockey skipper Rani Rampal, table tennis star Manika Batra and para-athlete, Mariyappan Thangavelu are the players who are receiving the prestigious award. They will be conferred the Khel Ratna award on National Sports Day on Aug 29. Unfortunately, Vinesh Phogat tests Covid-19 positive, and will miss the national sports awards virtual ceremony today.
One common trend seen in this year’s award is the increased domination of female athletes. Three out of five prize winners are women, and it shows that women in the sports industry are also getting recognition day by day. Rani Rampal is the first women hockey player to be honored for the award. It was unexpected and she broke into tears of joy when she heard about it. She has earlier won the Arjuna Award as well as the Bhim award from her state of Haryana. Her focus is to win the Olympics medal for India to be held next year in Tokyo.
While I do feel this award comes as a recognition of my hard work, sacrifices, and commitment to the sport over the years, winning the Olympic medal will remain the ultimate goal. We will work hard as a team to achieve this goal in Tokyo next year, Rani said.
Along with Khel Ratna awardees, Ishant Sharma, alongside 26 others, will receive the Arjuna Award. The player’s complete dominance in test cricket is being rewarded.
The Khel Ratna award is a prestigious award and it is unusual for so many players to be awarded in one year. It is a true resonation to the fact that talent develops through hard work and dedication. Congratulations to all the winners. It is a privilege to be conferred with the Khel Ratna award, which is the country’s highest sporting honor.