A total of 600 athletes and coaches have reportedly applied for the 2021 Indian National Sports Awards. This is a massive jump from the 400 applications the Sports Ministry had received last year.
As per a report in the Times of India, the Sports Ministry has received 35 applications for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna - an award which is given to a maximum of two athletes every year. Besides, there have been 215 applications for the Arjuna award, 100 for the Dronacharya lifetime award, 48 for the Dronacharya award and a whopping 138 applications for the Dhyanchand lifetime achievement award.
The national sports awards committee for the year 2021 will be chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Mukundakum Sharma. He will be assisted by the likes of para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia, former cricketer Anjum Chopra, former shooter Anjali Bhagwat, and boxer Sarita Devi.
The prize money for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award was hiked massively last year. While the Khel Ratna awardees now get INR. 25 lakh, the Arjuna Awardees get INR. 15 lakh.
The Indian Sports Ministry has also changed the eligibility rule for the National Sports Awards last week, with the dope-tainted athletes and coaches now being eligible for the top honours.