New Delhi, Aug 29: On the occasion of the National Sports Day, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday announced a massive hike in prize money in four of the seven categories of the National Sports and Adventure Awards.
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna increased to Rs 25 lakh from the previous amount of Rs. 7.5 lakh.
- Arjuna Award has been enhanced to Rs. 15 lakh from Rs. 5 lakh.
- The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given Rs. 5 lakh rupees will now be given Rs. 15 lakh.
- Dhronacharya (Regular) will be given 10 lakh instead of Rs. 5 lakh per awardee.
- Dhyanchand Awardees will be given 10 lakh rupees instead of Rs. 5 lakh.
Speaking about the decision, Rijiju said, "The prize money for the Sports Awards was last reviewed in 2008. He said these amounts should be reviewed once every 10 years at least. He added that if professionals in every field have seen an enhancement in their earnings, sportspersons should also get enhanced earnings."
Earlier in the day, the Minister paid floral tributes to hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand at his statue in Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi this morning. He congratulated the winners of National Sports Awards for the accolades and honors they brought to India. "The performance of Indian athletes at the international level has gone up as compared to the past. Well performing athletes have to be recognized and rewarded and therefore, the number of awardees in National Sports Awards has also gone up this year," he said.
Cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, women's hockey captain Rani Rampal, paddler Manika Batra and high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu have conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year. Along with this, a whopping 27 athletes have been chosen for the Arjuna Award and 13 coaches will be conferred with the Dronacharya Award and 15 others have been short-listed for the Dhyan Chand honour.