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India’s highest sporting honour Khel Ratna renamed after hockey icon Major Dhyan Chand

Major Dhyan Chand played a pivotal role in India’s successive gold medals at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi ( Image Credit: Twitter)

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award will now be known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award, announced the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Widely regarded as the greatest hockey player from the country, Major Dhyan Chand played a pivotal role in India’s successive gold medals at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. Known as ‘The Wizard’, Chand represented India from 1926 to 1949, scoring 570 goals in 185 matches. 29th August, his birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day.

“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. Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Jai Hind!” the Prime Minister tweeted.

“Major Dhyan Chand was among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation’s highest sporting honour will be named after him,” PM Modi further wrote on his official Twitter profile.

The Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour, was introduced in 1991-1992 and chess master Vishwanathan Anand was its first recipient. Several icons from different sports, including Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Leander Paes, Pullela Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George, and Mary Kom have received the prestigious award. The Khel Ratna is awarded to sportspersons for “most outstanding performance by a sportsperson” over four years. The winner is presented with a medal and a cash prize of 25 lakhs.

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