Which Is the Highest Sports Award in India? A Deep Dive into the Khel Ratna Award

The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, more commonly known as the Khel Ratna Award, holds the prestigious title of being the highest sports award in India. Established during 1991-92, the award, backed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, came to the limelight recently after India’s exceptional performance at the Asian Games 2023.

The highest sports award in India is the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. This prestigious honor, named after the legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand, recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of sports. It is not only a recognition of athletic excellence but also a symbol of the highest level of respect and admiration for sports personalities in India.

The Pantheon of National Sports Awards

Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award: A Symbol of Excellence

  • Overview: The Khel Ratna Award, instituted in 1991-92, is the highest sporting honor in India. It acknowledges not just the performance of an athlete over a period but also their dedication and commitment to the sport.
  • Eligibility and Selection: The award is open to all Indian athletes. The selection is based on their performances at international events over a period of four years, alongside their overall contribution to sports in India.
  • Significance: It’s a testament to an athlete’s hard work and dedication. The award carries a medal, a certificate, and a cash prize.

Summary of which is the highest sports award in india

Aspect Details
Award Name Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award
Institution Year 1991-92
Criteria Outstanding performance over four years, Medal wins, World records
Reward Medallion, Certificate, ₹25 lakh
Recent Highlight India’s performance in Asian Games 2023
Other Awards Arjuna, Dhyan Chand, Dronacharya
Financial Reward for Asian Games Winner ₹1 crore (Gold), ₹50 lakh (Silver), ₹25 lakh (Bronze)

The Pantheon of National Sports Awards

India’s reverence for sports is evident through its array of national sports awards. Besides the Khel Ratna, there are:

  • Arjuna Award: Celebrating brilliance in international sports.
  • Dhyan Chand Award: A nod to lifetime achievements in sports.
  • Dronacharya Award: Saluting the gurus behind champions.
  • Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar: Honoring those fueling the growth of sports in India.


The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award stands at the apex of Indian sports awards, honoring the pinnacle of sporting excellence in the country. It not only recognizes the achievements of the athletes but also inspires future generations to strive for excellence in sports.

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