Major Dhyan Chand Award – All you need to know

The recently renamed Major Dhyan Chand award which was earlier known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is India’s highest sporting honour.

Ketaki Pole Author

Updated - 6 August 2021 5:36 pm

India’s highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award has now been officially renamed as Major Dhyan Chand award, honouring India’s hockey legend following the phenomenal performance of Indian men’s and women’s team at the Tokyo Olympics. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award will now be known as ‘Major Dhyan Chand Award’.

The Prime Minister’s decision came a day after the Indian men’s hockey team ended the 41-year long wait by winning a bronze at the Olympics, and securing first hockey medal since 1980. The women’s hockey team too performed phenomenally though they missed out on the medal losing 3-4 to Great Britain.

“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 views,” Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter saying that the decision was taken respecting the sentiments of the citizens.

Who was Major Dhyan Chand?

Known as Hockey Wizard, Major Dhyan Chand (29 August 1905 – 3 December 1979) is one of the greatest hockey players India has ever had. In his international hockey career from 1926 to 1949 he has scored across 400 goals and led India to three consecutive Gold Medals in Hockey in 1928, 1932 and 1936. The hockey legend was also awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour, in 1956.

What is the Major Dhyan Chand award?

The recently renamed Major Dhyan Chand award which was earlier known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is India’s highest sporting honour. It is annually awarded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and includes a medallion, a certificate and a cash prize.

Whom is the award given to?

The award is given to sporting individuals for their spectacular and outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of 4 years at international level.

What is the prize money of the Major Dhyan Chand award?

The recently renamed Major Dhyan Chand award will come with a cash prize of 25 lakh.

Who have been the recipients of the award in the past?

Instituted in 1991-1992 as India’s highest sporting honour, Chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand was the first recipient of the prestigious award. Following which many legendary sporting individuals including Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, Virat Kohli,  Leander Paes, MS Dhoni, Mary Kom amongst others have been the recipients of the award.

"The exceptional performance of the Men's and Women's Hockey Team has captured the imagination of our entire nation. There is a renewed interest towards Hockey that is emerging across the length and breadth of India. This is a very positive sign for the coming times," Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter ahead of announcing the new name of India’s highest sporting honour.

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