New Delhi/Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) Sports Minister Anuraj Thakur on Monday physically handed over trophies to some of the winners of last year’s National Sports Awards. Those that received the awards on Monday included women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and para high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu, all three of whom received the Khel Ratna Award for 2020.
On August 29, 2020, the Sports Ministry handed over a total of 74 National Sports Awards, including five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards and 27 Arjuna Awards. All the winners of the National Sports Awards 2020 had already received the cash prize component but were not able to collect their trophies and citation during last year’s Sports Awards ceremony as it was held virtually owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Monday’s ceremony was also attended by boxer Lovlina Borgohain, cricketer Ishant Sharma, archer Atanu Das, shuttlers Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty, all of whom received the Arjuna Award.
Addressing the awardees the minister said, “The National Sports Awards is a prestigious award that is won by athletes after years of dedication and hard work. Congratulations to all the awardees and the very best for their future events. The journey of the awardees doesn’t end here, there is more to be achieved. We must also continue to look for talented athletes, groom them and make them capable of winning medals at the International level. So I request all the athletes to take the pledge of at least grooming and training five such athletes who can win medals for India in the future.”
Besides, the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards, trophies for other awards like Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar (National sports Promotion Award) were also handed out on the occasion.
Three organisations from Maharashtra — Lakshya Institute, Army Sports Institute, and International Institute of Sports Management (IISM) — received the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar for 2020. ONGC was awarded for the corporate social responsibility category Air Force Sports Control Board got it for Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures.
Lakshya and Army Sports Institute, both based in Pune, shared the award for Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent, while IISM, set up by former India cricketer Nilesh Kulkarni and his wife, was given the award in the Sports for Development category. Kulkarni, who represented India in three Tests and 10 ODIs, and his wife Rasika set up IISM 11 years ago. It offers professional courses for undergraduate and post-graduate students and explores uncharted avenues of sports management education in the country.