New Delhi: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Khel Ratna Award had been renamed. The award will now be called as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
Prime Minister Modi tweeted that he has received several requests from citizens across India to call the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand.
"I appreciate them for their opinions. Major Dhyan Chand was among India's leading sportspersons who earned recognition and pride for India. It is appropriate that our nation's most eminent sporting honour will be titled after him," he tweeted.
The requests for the name switch expanded multifold on social media after Indian hockey teams' excellent performance in Tokyo Olympics.
India men's hockey team brings bronze home by ending India's 41years of drought for an Olympic medal. Additionally, the women's team secured fourth place with their stunning gameplay and spirit.
The country's most prestigious games honor, earlier named after former PM Rajiv Gandhi, has now been renamed to Dhyan Chan Khel Ratna Award.
A long-standing work that sees the dreams and aspirations of many fulfilled. Following the renaming, major reactions poured in from Congress MLAs.
Rajasthan Congress MLA Krishna Poonia blamed the Modi government for engaging politics in the naming of sports honour. Poonia opined that renaming the current awards is a trivial exercise. Rather, a unique award could have been declared in the name of the legendary hockey player. The Congress MLA asked that the BJP government should acknowledge Dhyan Chand with the Bharat Ratna award.
Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand was known for his excellent goal-scoring achievements. He played a pivotal role in India's three consecutive gold medal successes at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics.
Moreover, his legacy presented an immense part in India's later stories of the Olympics. He represented India from 1926-1949, marking an unbelievable 570 goals in simply 185 competitions.