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Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 1991 to 2016

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is the highest prize given to sportspersons in India. The award is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi.

The award is conferred to deserving sportspersons for exceptional and outstanding performance in various sporting disciplines such as Athletics, Gymnastics, Billiards, Badminton, Boxing, Cricket, Chess, Field hockey, Shooting, Tennis, Snooker, Wrestling, and Weightlifting.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 7.5 lakh. It also comprises of a medallion and a certificate. There is a twelve-member committee that evaluates the performances of sportspersons at different International events such as the Olympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Paralympics. This committee then submits their recommendations to the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, who take the final decision.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award was instituted in 1991. When first introduced, the sportspersons were judged over a period of just one year. Now, based on a new set of criteria, the athletes are judged over a period of four years.

The very first recipient of this award was the greatest chess player of his generation, Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand. He received the prize in 1992. Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra was the youngest recipient of the award, when he won it at the age of 18 in 2001.

Recently, badminton player P. V. Sindhu, who won silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics, was conferred the prize. Wrestler Sakshi Malik, who won a bronze in the Rio Olympics, has also been conferred the award. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jitu Rai have been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna as well.

Year, List of award recipients, and discipline(s)
YearRecipient(s)Discipline(s)
1991–92Viswanathan AnandChess
1992–93Geet SethiBilliards
1993–94Homi MotivalaYachting
1993–94Garg Pushpendra KumarYachting
1994–95Karnam MalleswariWeightlifting
1995–96Nameirakpam KunjaraniWeightlifting
1996–97Leander PaesTennis
1997–98Sachin TendulkarCricket
1998–99Jyotirmoyee SikdarAthletics
1999–2000Dhanraj PillayHockey (Men)
2000–2001Pullela GopichandBadminton
2001Abhinav BindraShooting
2002K. M. BeenamolAthletics
2002Anjali BhagwatShooting
2003Anju Bobby GeorgeAthletics
2004Rajyavardhan Singh RathoreShooting
2005Pankaj AdvaniSnooker
2006Manavjit Singh SandhuShooting
2007Mahendra Singh DhoniCricket
2009Mary KomBoxing (Women)
2009Vijender SinghBoxing
2009Sushil KumarWrestling
2010Saina NehwalBadminton
2011Gagan NarangShooting
2012Vijay KumarShooting
2012Yogeshwar DuttWrestling
2013Ronjan SodhiShooting
2015Sania MirzaTennis
2016P. V. SindhuBadminton
2016Dipa KarmakarGymnastics
2016Jitu RaiShooting
2016Sakshi MalikWrestling

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