As an unprecedented 12 sportspeople were honored by President Ram Nath Kovind with India’s highest sporting honour, the Major Dhyan Chaud Khel Ratna, the Most Valuable Sporting Honour — presented to them on Saturday — Neeraj Chopra (olympic champion javelin thrower), Mithali Raj (victorious woman cricketer) and the Paralympic legends shared the spotlight.
The President recognized the nation’s outstanding Paralympic and Olympic performances in a glittering event held at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was made live after it went online in the previous year. Anurag Thakur, Union Sports minister, was there with many other dignitaries including Kiren Rijiju, his predecessor.
After going online in the previous year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was now held in person.
Chopra was the star attraction of the evening, receiving his Khel Ratna Award amid thunderous applause by the selected dignitaries who attended the special function.
Neeraj Chopra was among the first Khel Ratna awardees, to be awarded the honour.
Other than the star of 23 years old, the Khel Ratna award was also given to Manpreet Singh (Olympic bronze-winning Indian men’s hockey team captain), veteran goalkeeper P R Sreejesh and Ravi Dahiya (Olympic silver-medalist wrestler), and Lovlina Borgohain (Olympic bronze-winning boxer).