India Sports

Arjuna Awards

The Arjuna Awards were announced in 1961 in India to honor sports prodigies for their achievement and to promote all categories of sports in India. At present, the giveaways associated with this prestigious award include a cash prize of Rs. 500,000, a scroll of honour, a ceremonial dress, and a bronze statuette of the mythological archer of ancient India, Arjuna.

With the passage of time, the scope of Arjuna Award has been broadened to cover even more segments and even more categories of sports including sports for the physically challenged. In the meantime, the government has also honored several sportspersons from the pre-1961 era. To provide even more eminence to the award, the scheme for the Arjuna Award has been revised.

So, apart from an outstanding performance during the three successive previous years, the concerned sportsperson should have the dedication for ethics and team-spirit; one should also possess the traits of leadership, discipline and sportsmanship. It is also necessary that he should be active during the year for which the Award is provided.

Now from the year 2001, Arjuna Award has been restricted to the top international events such as Commonwealth Games, World Cup, Olympic Games, World Championship Disciplines, Asian Games, and Cricket. It also includes indigenous games and sports for the physically challenged. In 2011, some 19 sportspersons received the coveted award. It was due to the fact that both Commonwealth Games and Asian Games had happened the previous year.

According to the scheme, the sportspersons found guilty for the use of prohibited drugs by the global sports committees, are ineligible for the prestigious Arjuna Award. The Ministry of Youth Affairs, Indian Olympic Association and State and Union Territories Governments invite the nominations for the Awards from the respective sports committees, federations and boards. These sports bodies must be recognized by the Government of India.

The number of sportspersons to be nominated by each such agency is restricted to three. Some other sports control and promotion boards are also allowed to make up to five nominations. Some of these boards are: All India Railway Sports Promotion Board, Police Sports Control Board, Services Sports Control Board, Indian Navy Sports Control Board, Army Sports Control Board, and Air Force Sports Control Board.

Apart from these agencies and sports bodies, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardees can also nominate one athlete, they think deserves the award. Director General, Sports Authority of India is also entitled to nominate a maximum of three persons for Arjuna Award. However, the concerned agencies are recommended to send all their nominations in one lot and follow the guidelines with regards to the eligibility and number of nominations. Arjuna Award can't be given twice to the same person. If the award is given posthumously, the condition for the previous three years of excellent performance is taken off.

Character verification is mandatory and is performed by the Sports Ministry before they finalize the name of the awardees. Since the aim of the awards is to inspire youth to achieve more in sports, Sports Ministry may ask Sports Authority of India to verify the character of the individual along with his antecedents through its India wide regional centers. The police record of the nominee is also checked.

As a rule, during the award ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Arjuna Award is conferred to the attending awardees and other persons are not allowed to collect the award or prize money on behalf of the awardees. If someone is selected for the award, and he is somehow unable to attend the award function on the National Sports Day, due to any reason whatsoever, he can collect it from the Minister in Charge for Youth Affairs and Sports.

However the Government of India reserves the right to cancel or annul the Award of any athlete citing some specific reasons. In such a case, the concerned sportsperson will have to surrender the statuette, and the scroll. The decision of the Government of India will be final and abiding in reference to the provision of the awards.

Last Updated on 08/17/2012