Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

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Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.jpg
Awarded by Government of India
Type Civilian
Category Sports (Individual/Team)
Description
Description Highest sports honour in India
Statistics
Instituted 1991–92
First awarded 1991–92
Last awarded 2016
Total awarded 32
Cash award 7.5 lakh (US$11,000)
First awardee(s) Viswanathan Anand
Recent awardee(s)
Award rank
Arjuna Award →

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, officially known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games,[1] is the highest sporting honour of the Republic of India.[2] The award is named after Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India who served the office from 1984 to 1989.[3] It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The recipient(s) is/are selected by a committee constituted by the Ministry and is honoured for their "spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years" at international level. As of 2016, the award comprises a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of 7.5 lakh (US$11,000).[a][1]

Instituted in 1991–92, the award was given for the performance by a sportsperson in a year. Based on the suggestions provided by 2014 award selection committee, the Ministry revised the criteria in February 2015 to consider the performance over a period of four years. The nominations for a given year are accepted till 30 April or last working day of April with not more than two sportspersons nominated for each sports discipline. A twelve-member committee evaluates the performances of a sportsperson at various International events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games. The committee later submits their recommendations to the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports for further approval.

The first recipient of the award was Chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, who was honoured for the performance in the year 1991–92. In 2001, sport shooter Abhinav Bindra, then aged 18, became the youngest recipient of the award.[8] Usually conferred upon only one sportsperson in a year, a few exceptions have been made (1993–94, 2002, 2009, 2012, and 2016) when multiple recipients were awarded in a year. As of 2016, there have been thirty-two recipients from fourteen sport disciplines: Athletics, Badminton, Billiards, Boxing, Chess, Cricket, Field hockey, Gymnastics, Shooting, Snooker, Tennis, Wrestling, Weightlifting, and Yacht racing. The most recent recipients of the award are the badminton player P. V. Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, sports shooter Jitu Rai, and wrestler Sakshi Malik.

Nominations[edit]

The nominations for the award are received from all government recognised National Sports Federations, the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the Sports Promotion and Control Boards, and the state and the union territory governments with not more than two eligible sportspersons nominated for each sports discipline. In case of cricket, the nominations are received from the Board of Control for Cricket in India and SAI is authorised to submit the nominations on behalf of all the de-recognised or under suspension National Sports Federations.[b] The previous award recipients can also nominate one sportsperson for the discipline for which they themselves were awarded. The Government can nominate up to two sportspersons in deserving cases where no such nominations have been received from the nominating authorities. The nominations for a given year are accepted till 30 April or last working day of April.[1]

Selection process[edit]

All the received nominations are sent to SAI and National Anti-Doping Agency for the verification against the claimed achievements and doping clearance respectively. Any sportsperson who is either penalised or being enquired for usage of drugs or substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency is not eligible for the award. A committee consisting of the Joint Secretary and the Director/Deputy Secretary of Department of Sports, the Secretary and the Executive Director/Director (TEAMS) of SAI verify and validate the nominations.[1]

The valid nominations are placed before the selection committee constituted by the Government. This twelve member committee consists of a Chairperson nominated by the Ministry, four Olympians or previous recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or Arjuna Award, three sports journalists/experts/commentators, one sportsperson/expert/administrator associated with parasports, one sports administrator, the Director General of SAI, and the Joint Secretary of Department of Sports, with not more than one sportsperson from a particular discipline included in the committee.[1] When instituted in 1991–92, the award was given for the performance by a sportsperson in a year.[4][9] Based on the suggestions provided by 2014 award selection committee headed by Kapil Dev,[10][11] the Ministry revised the criteria in February 2015 to consider the performance over a period of four years.[12]

The medals won in various International championships and events of the disciplines which include Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympics Games, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games are given 80% weightage. The remaining 20% weightage is given to the profile and standard of the events. For any other games not included in Olympic, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games like cricket and indigenous games, the individuals performance of a sportsperson is taken into consideration. The sportsperson with maximum points is given 80 marks. Rest of the sportspersons are given marks in proportion to the maximum points. For team events, marks are given as per the strength of the team.[1] Following are the points defined for medals at the given events:

Points for winning medals for the performance during the last four years
Event Medal
 Gold  Silver  Bronze
Olympic Games/Paralympic Games 80 70 55
World Championship/World Cup[c] 40 30 20
Asian Games 30 25 20
Commonwealth Games 25 20 15

For a given discipline, not more than two sportspersons, one male and one female, are given highest marks. The committee may not recommend the award to the sportsperson with the highest marks across disciplines but can only recommend the recipient of the highest aggregate marks in a particular sports discipline. The recommendations of the selection committee are submitted to the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports for further approval.[1]

List of recipients[edit]

Key
Indicates a joint award for the given year
A photograph of a man playing Chess with white set.
The first recipient of the award Viswanathan Anand is country's first chess Grandmaster and a five time winner of World Chess Championship.[13]
A photograph of a man playing Snooker wearing white shirt and black waistcoat.
Pankaj Advani is the only sportsperson to have won the award for two sports disciplines; Billiards and Snooker.
A photograph of a woman wearing yellow coloured t-shirt.
A photograph of a man wearing blue coloured sportswear.
Awarded in 2016, badminton player P. V. Sindhu (top) and shooter Jitu Rai (below) are the most recent recipients of the award along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and wrestler Sakshi Malik.
List of award recipients, showing the year, and discipline(s)
Year Recipient(s) Discipline(s) Refs.
1991–92 Anand, ViswanathanViswanathan Anand Chess [14]
1992–93 Sethi, GeetGeet Sethi Billiards [14]
1993–94 † Motivala, HomiHomi Motivala Yachting (Team Event) [15]
1993–94 † Pushpendra Kumar, GargGarg Pushpendra Kumar Yachting (Team Event) [15]
1994–95 Malleswari, KarnamKarnam Malleswari Weightlifting [14]
1995–96 Kunjarani, NameirakpamNameirakpam Kunjarani Weightlifting [14]
1996–97 Paes, LeanderLeander Paes Tennis [14]
1997–98 Tendulkar, SachinSachin Tendulkar Cricket [14]
1998–99 Sikdar, JyotirmoyeeJyotirmoyee Sikdar Athletics [4]
1999–2000 Pillay, DhanrajDhanraj Pillay Hockey (Men) [5][14]
2000–01 Gopichand, PullelaPullela Gopichand Badminton [16]
2001 Bindra, AbhinavAbhinav Bindra Shooting [6]
2002 † Beenamol, K. M.K. M. Beenamol Athletics [17]
2002 † Bhagwat, AnjaliAnjali Bhagwat Shooting [17]
2003 George, Anju BobbyAnju Bobby George Athletics [18]
2004 Rathore, Rajyavardhan SinghRajyavardhan Singh Rathore Shooting [19]
2005 Advani, PankajPankaj Advani Billiards and Snooker [20]
2006 Sandhu, Manavjit SinghManavjit Singh Sandhu Shooting [21]
2007 Dhoni, Mahendra SinghMahendra Singh Dhoni Cricket [22]
2008 No award[d] [14]
2009 † Kom, MaryMary Kom Boxing (Women) [7]
2009 † Singh, VijenderVijender Singh Boxing [7]
2009 † Kumar, SushilSushil Kumar Wrestling [7]
2010 Nehwal, SainaSaina Nehwal Badminton [23]
2011 Narang, GaganGagan Narang Shooting [24]
2012 † Kumar, VijayVijay Kumar Shooting [25]
2012 † Dutt, YogeshwarYogeshwar Dutt Wrestling [25]
2013 Sodhi, RonjanRonjan Sodhi Shooting [26]
2014 No award [10]
2015 Mirza, SaniaSania Mirza Tennis [27]
2016 † Sindhu, P. V.P. V. Sindhu Badminton [28]
2016 † Karmakar, DipaDipa Karmakar Gymnastics [28]
2016 † Rai, JituJitu Rai Shooting [28]
2016 † Malik, SakshiSakshi Malik Wrestling [28]

Controversies[edit]

The 2002 selection committee headed by former football player Pradip Kumar Banerjee made twenty one recommendations for the Arjuna Award and two recommendations for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, athlete K. M. Beenamol and shooter Anjali Bhagwat. The government rejected the recommendations and asked the committee to cut down the list to comply with the award guidelines, where only one sportsperson for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and fifteen sportspersons along with one disabled athlete for the Arjuna Awards could be recommended each year.[29] The committee revised the list to recommend Beenamol for the award over Bhagwat but also put a request "to consider everyone".[30] The decision spurred criticism for ignoring the achievements of the shooter and Bhagwat and the National Rifle Association of India expressed their "disappointment" with the decision.[31] Later, the government accepted all the recommendations "as an exception" and jointly awarded Beenamol and Bhagwat for the year 2002.[32]

In August 2013, the selection committee headed by Michael Ferreira recommended sport shooter Ronjan Sodhi for the award, with some committee members questioning the process of selection.[33] A committee member noted that discus thrower Krishna Poonia, and Paralympic athlete H. N. Girisha were shortlisted and Sodhi was not the initial choice. However, Girisha's name was removed, and the final voting was done between Sodhi and Poonia.[34] Poonia was accused of lobbying for the award by one of the committee member Anjali Bhagwat,[35] but the accused met the then Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh to promote her case and also rubbished the lobbying allegations.[36][37] The Ministry conducted a separate enquiry by Secretary of Department of Sports and decided not to increase the number of awards "to maintain the stature of the awards".[36]

Following an announcement, in August 2015, that tennis player Sania Mirza was to be awarded, a Public-Interest Litigation was filed in the Karnataka High Court. The petitioner, Paralympic athlete H. N. Girisha, mentioned that his performance was ignored by the committee.[38] Girisha claimed to be a top contender for the award with 90 points, owing to his silver medal winning act at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in the Men's High Jump F42 event.[39] The petition mentioned that the points for Mirza's Grand Slam titles from 2011 till 2015 should not be counted as the events were not a part of the list of sports events to be considered for the performance evaluation.[e] The court withheld the conferment and sought replies from the Ministry about the selection process. The Ministry nevertheless presented the award to Mirza on 29 August 2015 amidst the case processing.[2]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ The cash prize was revised from 1 lakh (US$1,500) to 3 lakh (US$4,500) in 2000,[4][5] to 5 lakh (US$7,400) in 2002,[6] and to 7.5 lakh (US$11,000) in 2009.[7]
  2. ^ For cricket, there is no National Sports Federation recognised by the Government.[1]
  3. ^ A World Championship/World Cup is generally organised every four years. For different cyclicities, proportionate marks are given.
  4. ^ The award for the performance in 2008 is being referred to as award for 2009.[14]
  5. ^ Mirza has won 2012 French Open – Mixed Doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi, 2014 US Open – Mixed Doubles with Bruno Soares, and 2015 US Open – Women's Doubles and 2015 Wimbledon Championships – Women's Doubles with Martina Hingis.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Scheme for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award" (PDF). Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Sania Mirza conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award". The Indian Express. New Delhi. 29 August 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Prime Ministers of India". Prime Minister's Office (India). Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Arjun Awards 1998 announced Ms. Jyotirmoyee Sikdar gets Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 1998–99" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Arjuna Awards to be presented tomorrow" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 30 August 2000. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "President presents Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 29 August 2002. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards and other Sports Awards Announced" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "5 Interesting Facts About Abhinav Bindra". The Times of India. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Criteria for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Dronacharya Award and Dhyan chand Award" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "National Sports Awards 2014" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "National Sports Awards Schemes Revamped" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Committee for National Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  13. ^ "Why is Viswanathan Anand a chess legend?". NDTVSports. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awards". Sports Authority of India. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "National Sports Awards". Yachting Association of India. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "President presents Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 29 September 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Arjuna Awards, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Dhyan Chand and Dronacharya Awards given away" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 29 August 2003. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "President gives away Arjuna Awards and Dronacharya Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 21 September 2004. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "President gives away Arjuna Awards and Dronacharya Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 29 August 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, 2005, Arjuna awards 2005, Dhyan Chand awards, 2006 and Dronacharya awards for the year 2005 Announced" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "President gives away Arjuna Awards and Dronacharya Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  22. ^ "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna & Arjuna Awards announced" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  23. ^ "Sports Minister Gives away Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Saina Nehwal" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards and other Sports Awards Announced" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Awards Announced" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  27. ^ "Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2015 and Arjuna Awards 2015" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  28. ^ a b c d "National Sports Awards 2016" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  29. ^ "Arjuna Awards panel to prune list". The Times of India. New Delhi. Press Trust of India. 7 August 2003. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  30. ^ "Beenamol to get Khel Ratna". Rediff.com. 9 August 2003. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  31. ^ "Beenamol to get Khel Ratna". The Hindu. 10 August 2003. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  32. ^ "33 sportspersons honoured: Controversy set aside as stars get their due from the President". The Telegraph. 30 August 2003. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  33. ^ "Ronjan Sodhi's Khel Ratna nomination irks Krishna Poonia". New Delhi: India Today. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  34. ^ "Khel Ratna controversy: Krishna Poonia hits back at Anjali Bhagwat; says didn't lobby for award". New Delhi: NDTV. Press Trust of India. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  35. ^ "New twist in Khel Ratna controversy: Anjali Bhagwat claims Poonia lobbied with her". Mid-Day. New Delhi. Press Trust of India. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  36. ^ a b "Awards and the controversy thereafter". Sportstar. 36 (36). 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  37. ^ "Didn't lobby for award: Krishna Poonia on Khel Ratna controversy". New Delhi: India Today. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  38. ^ "Karnataka HC stays Sania Mirza's Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award". Daily News and Analysis. Mumbai. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2016. 
  39. ^ "Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda bags first Paralympic medal for India". London: NDTV. Press Trust of India. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  40. ^ "Sania Mirza profile". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 

External links[edit]