In a first ever virtual presentation of awards, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, gave away the National Sports and Adventure Awards, 2020 from Rashtrapati Bhavan today (August 29, 2020) and said that the achievements of these award winners were reminder of India’s immense potential in the sports.Setting the bar high, the President said that India would eventually emerge as a great power in the sports and aspire to find a place in top ten countries for winning the medals in 2028 Olympics. “I am sure we will achieve this target” he said while addressing a gathering of officials, sports-persons and trainers spread over 11 different centres across the country including, Bengaluru, Pune, Sonepat, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Lucknow, Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Hyderabad and Itanagar. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Kiren Rijiju also attended the ceremony and delivered the welcome address from New Delhi.The President said that COVID-19 has adversely affected the sports world too. Olympic Games have been postponed. Sports activities in our country have also been affected. Players and coaches might be feeling less motivated due to lack of practice and competitions which poses a huge challenge for their mental and physical preparation. He was happy to note that players and coaches have been connected through online coaching and webinars to overcome this challenge. He said that today's event was an attempt to continue sports related activities despite the global pandemic.
The President was happy to note the increased diversity of sports in our country. He said that today's award winners represent more than 20 sports. The growing popularity of our traditional games like Kabaddi, Kho-Kho and Mallakhamb will help in connecting the common people with sports. Today, apart from Cricket and Football, league tournaments of sports like Volleyball and Kabaddi are gaining popularity which is a pleasant change.The President said that the culture of sports can be promoted by the participation of all stakeholders. It is not the sole responsibility of the government. Investment in sports is a collective effort towards nation-building which strengthens society. He was happy to note that many corporate, NGOs and educational institutions are making significant contribution in promoting sports. He expressed confidence that India would emerge as a leading nation in sports through collective efforts.The Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years; Arjuna Award is given for consistent outstanding performance for four years; Dronacharya Award goes to the coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious international sports events; Dhyan Chand Award is for life time contribution to sports development and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development. Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments is given Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy. In addition to these Sports Awards, the spirit of adventure among the people of the country is recognized by bestowing the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award.