India has produced many brilliant sportspersons over the years who have went on to achieve great things for the nation. But would they have went on to achieve whatever they have without proper guidance? Without a coach? No, right? And that is exactly why the Dronacharya award was introduced.
The Dronacharya award, introduced in the year 1985, is conferred to the outstanding coaches in sports and games. The award is named after Dronacharya or Guru Drona from the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. Dronacharya is mainly known as a military arts teacher to the Kauravas and Pandavas. It is the highest sporting honour bestowed upon the coaches in India.
The Dronacharya award is handed out annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The award consists of a bronze statue of Dronacharya, a certificate, a ceremonial dress and a cash prize of INR 15 lakhs. But, do you know who was the first ever person to receive this prestigious award?
Bhalchandra Bhaskar Bhagwat was the first ever person to be honoured with the Dronacharya Award in the year 1985. Bhagwat was a coach of wrestling at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala when he was conferred with the award.
He received the award alongside OM Nambiar and Om Prakash Bharadwaj who were honoured with the award for Athletics and Boxing respectively, in the same year.
Since its inception in 1985, the Dronacharya Award has been awarded almost every year with a few exceptions. Usually, a maximum of 5 coaches are bestowed with this award every year – though more people were awarded in 2012 and in the years from 2016 to 2020.