Vijay Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt get Khel Ratna from President

President Pranab Mukherjee with the recepients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awards and Arjuna Awards-2012 after the presentation of  Awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. (UNI)
President Pranab Mukherjee with the recepients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awards and Arjuna Awards-2012 after the presentation of Awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. (UNI)

NEW DELHI, Aug 29:
Olympic medal winners Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt were today conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna  award, the country’s highest sporting honour, by President  Pranab Mukherjee who gave away the National sports awards at a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Amid huge applause, Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt received their Khel Ratna Awards from the President at a  function attended by several union Ministers, dignitaries  and sports celebrities.
Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar had won a silver in the 25m rapid fire event at the London Olympics, while Yogeshwar  bagged a bronze in 60kg freestyle event.
Normally, only one award of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is given every year to an individual sportsperson. However, the scheme provides that this condition can be relaxed in exceptional circumstances like winning of an Olympic medal.
A total of 25 sportspersons, including archer Deepika Kumari, badminton player Ashwani Ponnappa and Cricketer Yuvraj Singh were honoured with the Arjuna awards.
The function also saw eight coaches from different disciplines receive the Dronacharya Awards from President  Mukherjee who also presented the Dhyan Chand and Tenzing  Norgay National Adventure Award.
The coaches who were conferred the Dronacharya Award, the top recognition for coaches in the country, included Virender Poonia (Athletics), Sunil Dabas (Kabaddi),  Yashvir Singh (Wrestling), Harendra Singh (Hockey), Satyapal Singh (Para Sports (Athletics), J S Bhatia (Athletics,  for Life Time achievement), Bhawani Mukherjee (Table Tennis,  for Life Time achievement) and B I Fernandez (Boxing,  foreign coach).
Fernandez became the first foreign coach to receive Dronacharya Award after the selection committee, headed by Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, took into account his outstanding contribution in the performance of the Indian boxers at the international sporting events including Olympics.
National Sports Awards are given every year to recognise and reward excellence in sports.
The choices were made by a selection committee headed by 2004 Olympics silver-medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh  Rathore and comprised noted sportspersons such as Akhil  Kumar (boxing), Khajan Singh (swimming) and Bhaichung Bhutia  ( football) among others.
The Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees get statuettes, citations and cash prize of Rs five lakh each.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken, was among the dignitaries present on the occasion. (PTI)

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