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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)
Year Recipient(s) Discipline(s)
1991–92 Viswanathan Anand Chess
1992–93 Geet Sethi Billiards
1993–94 Homi Motivala Yachting
1993–94 Garg Pushpendra Kumar Yachting
1994–95 Karnam Malleswari Weightlifting
1995–96 Nameirakpam Kunjarani Weightlifting
1996–97 Leander Paes Tennis
1997–98 Sachin Tendulkar Cricket
1998–99 Jyotirmoyee Sikdar Athletics
1999–2000 Dhanraj Pillay Hockey (Men)
2000–2001 Pullela Gopichand Badminton
2001 Abhinav Bindra Shooting
2002 K. M. Beenamol Athletics
2002 Anjali Bhagwat Shooting
2003 Anju Bobby George Athletics
2004 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Shooting
2005 Pankaj Advani Snooker
2006 Manavjit Singh Sandhu Shooting
2007 Mahendra Singh Dhoni Cricket
2009 Mary Kom Boxing (Women)
2009 Vijender Singh Boxing
2009 Sushil Kumar Wrestling
2010 Saina Nehwal Badminton
2011 Gagan Narang Shooting
2012 Vijay Kumar Shooting
2012 Yogeshwar Dutt Wrestling
2013 Ronjan Sodhi Shooting
2015 Sania Mirza Tennis
2016 P. V. Sindhu Badminton
2016 Dipa Karmakar Gymnastics
2016 Jitu Rai Shooting
2016 Sakshi Malik Wrestling

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