In a surprising move, the highest sporting honour of the nation, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award was renamed after Indian Hockey Legend, Major Dhyan Chand. The award is given to sports personalities for their exceptional contribution in the field of sports. The award also comes with a certificate and a cash prize of 25 Lakhs Rupees.
Prime Minister Modi took to twitter to announce the move. He said the decision was taken on the numerous requests he received from people across the country. He tweeted: “ I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their view.
Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award” with a Jai Hind.
This move comes at a time India’s Hockey team has been successful in winning the hearts of the people across the country with their spectacular performance at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Before announcing the move, the PM also praised the Men’s and Women’s hockey team for their brillant efforts at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Boxer Vijender Singh said it is a good move to honour the legend but a lot needs to be done. Former Hockey Skipper, Ajitpal Singh praised the decision. Ex- Indian Cricketer, Gautam Gambhir also praised the decision. He took to twitter to express his feeling, he tweeted “Name of the Icon makes the Award more Iconic.”
However, the move also drew a lot of criticism from the opposition parties. Congress welcomed the decision but targeted the Government by accusing them to have done this for pure political gains. Arvind Sawant, the Shiv Sena MP said it does not look good and shows the narrow mindness of the Modi Government to have changed the name.
People on Social Media were divided in their opinion; some praised the move by saying that sports awards should be renamed after sports personalities while some criticized it by reminding the government that they have renamed the Motera Cricket Stadium and Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium after PM Narendra Modi and Late Arun Jaitley respectively.
From now onwards, the award will be called the Major Dhyan Chand Award. Major Dhyan Chand who played Hockey for India from 1926-1949 has scored 400 goals in his career. He won three gold medals for the country and National Sports Day is named after him.
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