Three decades after the PV Narasimha Rao-led government instituted the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the hugest sporting civilian honour of the Republic of India, for their dynamic performance in sport’s disciplines that are included in international competitions, a change in name has taken place. 

Now its name is Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. The change was introduced by the Narendra Modi government today.

The name change has elicited mixed responses from among sportspersons. While some have welcomed it, others raised eyebrows. In any case, in the past, the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award was Chess legend, Viswanathan Anand.

Among the other winners were Leander Paes, Sachin Tendulkar, Dhanraj Pillay, Pullela Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George, Mary Kom and Rani Rampal in 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that the Rajiv Khel Ratna Award will now be called Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. 

PM Modi in a tweet today, said that he has been getting a lot of requests from the citizens to name the Khel Ratna Award after India Hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand. 

Modi said that respecting the sentiments of the citizens of India, it was decided to change the name of the sporting honour to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Awards.  

“I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views. Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Jai Hind!", PM Modi tweeted.

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