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Why Former PM and Not Sportsperson? Babita Phogat Demands Change of Name for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

Babita Phogat

Babita Phogat

Babita Phogat demanded the name of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to be changed in honour of a sportsperson rather than a former Prime Minister.

Indian wrestling star Babita Phogat has demanded the name of India’s highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, be changed on Tuesday.

She reasoned that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna should be named after a sportsperson and not after a former Prime Minister.

The award was introduced after former Prime Minister of India’ Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991.

“Khel Ratna Award has been named after Rajiv Gandhi’s name. If it was in the name of some athlete, instead of his name, we would have felt more proud. We have so many Olympic medallists and World Champions," Phogat told ANI.

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“If it was in the name of some sportsperson, then the athletes also would have felt more pride in receiving it, they would have felt more motivated," she added.

This is not the first time that it has been demanded that the name of India’s highest sporting award be changed, with many suggesting that it should be named after Major Dhyan Chand.

Babita’s sister Vinesh has been honoured with the Khel Ratna this year, which is presented to an athlete for his or her achievements and performances over the previous four year.

Earlier on August 29, India’s National Sports Day, the country’s sporting heroes were bestowed the National Sports Awards in a historic online ceremony amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletes had logged in from multiple cities to be honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind, with a whopping 74 were picked for the national honours, including an unprecedented five Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratnas and 27 Arjuna awardees. Of these, 60 attended the virtual ceremony conducted across 11 Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres in various cities.

first published:September 03, 2020, 09:28 IST