The Sports Ministry, on Tuesday, decided to award the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2017 to Para-Athlete Devendra Jhajharia and former India hockey captain Sardar Singh. The Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awards were also handed out.

On Saturday, the sports ministry decided to retain the list of Arjuna Award winners this year while dropping the name of para-sports coach Satyanarayana from the Dronacharya awardees due to a criminal case pending against him, reported PTI. “Yes, we have chucked off the name of Satyanarayana since he has a case pending against him,” a Sports Ministry official told PTI, referring to a defamation case against the coach.

Satyanarayana is the coach of Mariyappan Thangavelu, who won a gold medal at the Rio Paralympics and is in the list of Arjuna awardees this year. Tennis veteran Rohan Bopanna and weightlifter Sanjita Chanu’s omission from the Arjuna list raised some eyebrows. Despite vehement protests, para-athlete Deepa Malik has not been considered for Khel Ratna.

The Dhyan Chand Award for life time contribution to sports development will be handed to Bhupender Singh (Athletics), Syed Shahid Hakim (Football) and Sumarai Tete (Hockey)
The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29, 2017.

Seven Dronacharya awardees for coaches were listed whereas there were 17 Arjuna awardees which included cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur and Cheteshwar Pujara. Paralympics gold medallist Mariyappan, Varun Singh Bhati and Hockey player SV Sunil also made the cut.

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