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Why is the Khel Ratna Award named after Rajiv Gandhi?

Why is the Khel Ratna Award named after Rajiv Gandhi?
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By

Md Imtiaz

Published: 20 Aug 2020 6:22 AM GMT

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is the highest sporting honour of India. The award is named after Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India who served the office from 1984 to 1989. 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. Instituted in 1991–1992, after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, the naming of the award after late Prime Minister can be due to below two reasons:

Rajiv Gandhi was a member of the organising committee of 1982 Asian games and as a son of Prime Minister at that time may be an authority over every other member. The 1982 Asian Games entirely changed the infrastructure of Delhi. The 60,000-seater Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, an important part of Delhi’s skyline and still the city’s most-desired venue for sporting and cultural events, was built for the Games. A number of the city’s famous flyovers and roads were also built at the time. The Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, the Games Village, the Siri Fort auditorium, the Karni Singh shooting range would probably have never existed had the 1982 Games not happened in Delhi. And the sight of the flyovers in Delhi, then, made the city feel like a truly international city. This was Delhi with a new look competing with developed world capital cites. And all these glorious efforts were done in just two years. Maybe, his contribution was remembered when the award was being institutionalized.

The other reason could be that as this award is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the ministry at that time cannot think of any other youth leader. He was 40 when he became the prime minister with so much contribution in various aspects.

Also read: National Sports Day: All sportspersons who received the Khel Ratna Award

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