To include Tokyo 2020 Olympic medallists, National sports awards selection process is likely to be delayed

The Sports Ministry is looking to include any athletes who win medals at the Tokyo Olympics among the award recipients. The selection process for the national sports awards winners could be delayed this year until after the Tokyo Olympics, which are set to be held from July 23 to August 8. The reason for the delay is so that athletes who win medals at the Olympics can also be included in the list of awardees.

“We have already received nominations for this year’s National Sports Awards. The dates of nominations are closed as of now. But in our last meeting we discussed about including Olympic medallists, if any, for consideration in this year’s awards,” a sports ministry source told PTI.

“The Olympics end on August 8 so the process for selection of awardees might get delayed,” he added. The ceremony itself could also be delayed if the selection panel is unable to finalise names of the awardees within 10 days of the Games’ end.

“We will take a final call on this issue soon. We are planning to have another meeting just after Olympics to decide on this. If any of our athletes win an Olympic medal, he or she will definitely be considered.

“If we can conduct the meeting within a week or 10 days after the Olympics, then the awards will given on August 29 otherwise it might be postponed by a few days,” the source said.

The awards are given away each year by the country’s president on August 29, the National Sports Day which is also the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand.

The process of nominations for the national honours ended on July 5 after two extensions. The applicants were allowed to self-nominate online in view of the pandemic but national federations have also sent their preferences.

74 recipients were honoured with the awards last year. The prize money was also increased significantly with the Khel Ratna awardees receiving Rs 25 lakh, Arjuna awardees Rs 15 lakh, Dronacharya (Lifetime) awardees Rs 15 lakh, and Dhyanchand winners Rs 10 lakh.

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