Decorated Olympian and Indian hockey player Major Dhyan Chand’s grandson, Vishal Singh, welcomed the government’s decision to rechristen the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, in his honour, insisting that it would encourage all sports personalities. “Renaming the Khel Ratna award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award will encourage sportspersons,” Singh told news agency ANI.
He deserves to be conferred with the Bharat Ratna award,” Singh added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on August 6 that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour, will be renamed after Major Dhyan Chand, following requests made by people across the country. “Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award,” he said in a tweet.
Dhyan Chand’s son, Ashok Kumar, too welcomed the move, stating that awards related to sports should be given to sports personalities. “Dhyan Chand belongs to the whole country and hockey is our national game. Sports awards should be named after sportspersons. This Khel Ratna was first named after honourable Rajiv Gandhi but it’s better to name these awards after sportspersons connected with it. Our country and our Prime Minister took notice of this today, because of the increasing popularity of hockey now,” he told Hindustan Times.