Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that henceforth, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award shall be known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. The Prime Minister said that he had received request from people across the country to name the award after the Indian Hockey legend. Therefore, respecting their wishes, the name has been altered accordingly.
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 (@narendramodi) August 6, 2021
Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award!
Jai Hind! pic.twitter.com/zbStlMNHdq
The Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honour in India. Until now, it has been named after Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of the country and the son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
There have been calls by citizens for a significant period of time to name the award after a sporting legend instead of a politician. Rajiv Gandhi, after all, was not known for his sporting prowess.
Major Dhyan Chand is one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the game. He led India to three consecutive Gold Medals in Hockey in 1928, 1932 and 1936. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour, in 1956.
According to his biography, Major Dhyan Chand scored an astonishing 570 goals in 185 matches, averaging 3.08 goals per match. For his astounding hockey feats, he is fondly remembered as The Wizard or The Magician.
Consequently, the highest sporting award in India will henceforth be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.