The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today via his twitter account. Moreover, The renaming recognises the ultimate hockey hero and legend of the sport, Dhyan Chand. However, this is the highest sporting honour of India now will be called Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
The change comes at a time India's hockey teams have captivated the imagination of the nation with their performance at the Tokyo Olympics.com. However, The women's hockey team today narrowly missed out on a bronze medal drawing curtains on its spirited show at the Olympics. Yesterday, the men's hockey team won an Olympic bronze after a wait of 41 years.
"The exceptional performance of the Men's and Women's Hockey Team has captured the imagination of our entire nation. There is a renewed interest towards Hockey that is emerging across the length and breadth of India. This is a very positive sign for the coming times," the Prime Minister said in another tweet, just before announcing the new name for the award.
Dhyan Chand's birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day. Moreover, he won three Olympic golds for the country.
Commending the decision, former hockey skipper Ajitpal Singh noted though the recognition came in late, it's better than never.
"It's a welcome move. It's a good decision which the Prime Minister has taken. Sports awards should always be in the name of sportspersons and there is no bigger sportsperson in the country other than Dhyanchand ji. The recognition came late but better late than never," Mr. Singh told PTI. Olympic bronze-winning boxer Vijender Singh said honouring the memory of Dhyan Chand is a good move, but that alone will not be enough.