National sports awards likely to be delayed to include Tokyo Olympics medalists

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) is planning to postpone the national awards for a couple of weeks to include possible Olympic medalists from the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games.

A source in the know of the development told ANI: “This has been discussed in the meeting of concerned department officials. We have nominations but it will be on hold as we wanted to include Olympic medalists. Another meeting to finalise this will be happening soon but as of now, I can say that national awards are likely going to be delayed for this reason. Final call to be taken soon.”

Tokyo Olympics will start from 23rd July and will end on 8th August while the national sports awards are given every year by the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 29th August. The National Sports Awards include the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the Arjuna award, the Dronacharya award, and the Dhyan Chand award. The ceremony coincides with the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had earlier decided to extend the last date of submission of applications for the National Sports Awards 2021.

Earlier, the last date for submitting applications was June 21. The nominations/applications from the eligible sportspersons/ coaches/ entities/ universities were invited for the award and they were to be e-mailed as per an official statement from the ministry.

Manika Batra, Rohit Sharma, Vinesh Phogat, Rani Rampal, and Mariyappan Phangavelu were awarded the Khel Ratna Award last year and it was the first time that five athletes received the honour in the same year.

As of now, more than 120 Indian athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The Games were slated to be held last year, but the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, 117 Indian athletes had qualified but could not better the medals haul from the 2012 London Games, which remains India’s highest medal tally at a single Olympic Games — six medals. Indian athletes would be hoping to break that threshold in Tokyo.

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