In recent days women are rocking in every field, sports is no exception as they are proving their mettle in this area as well. Traditionally, sports were only restricted to men but today women have left no stone unturned to extend their boundaries that were set by the prior generation. Nothing could ever stop them from reaching the level to hold the nation's prestigious award particularly meant to honor the sportsperson of the country.
On the eve of Hockey legend Dhyan Chand’s 115th birth anniversary, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has announced that the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rathna awards. The prize money for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been raised to 25 lakh from 7.5 lakh, likewise, Arjuna Award has been increased to 15 lakh from just five lakh. The Dhronacharya (Lifetime) Awardees were offered five lakh which would now be raised to 15 lakh. But, the regular Dhronacharya awardees would be given 10 lakh instead of 5 lakh. Furthermore, Dhyanchand awardees would also see a rise from five lakh to 10 lakh.
Commenting on the revised prize money, Kiren says, "The prize money for the Sports Awards was last reviewed in 2008. These amounts should be reviewed once every 10 years at least. If professionals in every field have seen an enhancement in their earnings, why not our sportspersons?”
He further stated, “The performance of our athletes at the international level has become better. When our players perform better, they have to be recognized and rewarded. If the government doesn't recognize their achievements, it will discourage every budding sporting talent we have in India.”
Lets us now meet the sportswomen who made us proud by receiving the National Sports Awards 2020.
Manika is a top-ranked female table tennis player in India and ranks 47th in the world. She began playing tennis at the tender age of four. She underwent training from coach Sandeep Gupta and later took admission in Hans Raj Model School. Manika even received modeling offers in her teens. But, she turned down the opportunity to focus on table Tennis. She even dropped out of college in her first year to fully concentrate on Table Tennis. Manika received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020.
Being born to a cart puller in Haryana, Rani Rampal made it really big to receive the honorable Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020 for Hockey. She represented our country in the 2010 World Cup at a very young age of 15. Rani has played about 212 international matches and has scored 134 goals. Presently, she leads the Indian Women's Hockey Team as its Captain, she is also recognized as a striker who often doubles up as mid-fielder.
Dutee is a professional sprinter and a national champion in the women's 100 meters event. She is the third Indian woman to qualify for the women's 100 meters event at the Summer Olympics Games 2016. Dutee was born in the Jajpur district of Odisha, in a weavers family. Dutee has acquired a silver medal in Women's 100 meters at the Jakarta Asian Games. Later in 2019, she became the first Indian sprinter to win gold at the Universiade in the 100m race. Dutee was honored with Arjuna Awards in National Sports Award 2020.
The Assam born amateur women boxer, has so far won the gold medal at the 1st India Open International Boxing Tournament held in New Delhi, and Silver medal at the 2nd India Open International Boxing Tournament held in Guwahati. The government of India honored her by presenting Arjuna Awards in the National Sports Award 2020.
Deepti is an international cricketer who is part of the Indian women's national cricket team. She currently ranks fourth in the top all-rounder in the ICC Cricket Ranking. Also presently, Deepti is the third-highest individual scorer by a women cricketer in ODIs. She made her debut in ODI International in 2014 opposing South Africa in Bengaluru, this match was part of the ICC Women's Championship. Deepti received Arjuna Awards in National Sports Award 2020.
Indian professional golfer, Aditi was born in Bangalore. She initiated playing golf at the age of five, under her father's guidance she went of pursuing a career as an Indian golfer and won several championships and was also part of the Summer Olympics 2016 and plays on the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour. The Indian government presented the Arjuna Award as an appreciation for her achievements.
An Indian field hockey player, Deepika is one of the most senior and highest capped players of the Indian women's Team. She has represented our country in more than 200 outings and has scored about 24 goals. The Haryana born Hockey player was the vice-captain for the Rio Olympics 2016's squad. Deepika has played a crucial role in various matches that include the Asian Champions Trophy 2016. For her achievements, the government of India honored her with a Arjuna award in National Sports Award 2020.
Alongside, various other women sportspersons have also been the pride of our country under several categories. They were also honored by our government, the achievers who received Arjuna Award include Kale Sarika Sudhakar for Kho Kho, Madhurika Patkar for Table Tennis, Divya Kakran for Wrestling, Jincy Philips for Athletics, Trupti Murgunde for Badminton, N Usha for Boxing(Dhyan Chand Awards) and Anita Devi for Land Adventure (Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award)