New Delhi [India], August 13 (ANI): The Paralympic Games shall commence from August 24 in Tokyo and there is some good news for Indian para-athletes. The move to delay the National Sports Awards function to consider the performances of the para-athletes in Tokyo Paralympics has been welcomed by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
Many para-athletes felt left out in 2016 when the national awards were declared much before the completion of Rio 2016 Paralympics.
India achieved its best performance with two gold medals, one silver and a bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
"National sports award committee has been formed for this year but Paralympics are yet to be held so we want to add winners from Paralympic also. I hope and wish they will perform really well," Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur said during the National Youth Awards function held on Thursday.
Many para players and the Paralympic Committee of India requested MYAS that by the time the awards come next year, the many good performances of the para players will be forgotten.
Welcoming the move, Gursharan Singh, Secretary-General of PCI, said, "The excellent international performance of our para athletes has lead to the change in the stand of government and made them to consider this policy shift in their stand and it's a very welcome move. The way para movement is spreading in the country, I won't be surprised that most of the awards will also be won by our para athletes."
Satyanarayana, Chairperson of Indian Para Athletics, too was happy about the government's initiative. "Our para-athletes are making the country proud and their performance should be considered before declaring the most prominent sports awards of the country," he said. India is sending its biggest-ever contingent of 54 para-athletes to Tokyo.
The Khel Ratna, the country's highest sporting honour, was recently renamed after hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand. The award was earlier named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The prize money for the sports awards was increased substantially last year. The Khel Ratna Award now comes with a reward of Rs 25 lakh. The cash reward for the Arjuna award has been enhanced to Rs 15 lakh from Rs 5 lakh, the Dronacharya (Lifetime) awardees, who were earlier given Rs 5 lakh, are now being given Rs 15 lakh. (ANI)