President Ram Nath Kovid will confer the country's highest sporting honor, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the Arjuna Award, the Dronacharya Award and the Lifetime Dhyanchand Award, on Saturday, for the first time in the history of the National Sports Awards on Sports Day, through a virtual ceremony from Rashtrapati Bhavan.
This year the President will award Khel Ratna to five players, Arjuna Award to 27 players, Dronacharya Award to 13 coaches and Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement to 15 players through virtual medium. Apart from this, Tenzig Norgay National Courage Award will be given to eight people, National Sports Promotion Award to five institutions and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Maka) Trophy to Punjab University Chandigarh.
India's limited overs captain Rohit Sharma, star women's wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis star Manika Batra, women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal and Rio Paralympic gold medalist athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu will be honored with the Khel Ratna. This is the first time in the history of Khel Ratna when five players will be awarded Khel Ratna. Earlier, after the 2016 Rio Olympics, four players were awarded silver medalist badminton player PV Sidhu, bronze winner women wrestler Sakshi Malik, fourth place gymnast Deepa Karmakar and shooter Jeetu Rai.
Rohit set a world record for scoring five centuries in the ODI World Cup held in England last year. He will become the fourth cricketer to receive this honor after Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli. Vinesh had won gold medals in the Commonwealth and Asian Games held in 2018. Vinesh won the bronze medal at the World Championships last year and won the quota for the Tokyo Olympics.
Manika Batra had won a total of four medals including the women's individual and team gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She won a bronze medal in mixed doubles at the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018. India has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by defeating America under the captaincy of Rani. Para high jumper Thangavelu won the gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.