Sports are activities that help your body and mind grow well, keep you healthy, make you stronger mentally, and teach you skills like independence. They can be done alone or with others, aiming to win awards like the National Sports Awards in India. Sports cover a wide range of activities, from those you see at the Olympics to those you do every day. They’re also part of what you learn in school about staying fit and active. These awards are given out by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, which is part of the Government of India.

Top National Sports Awards in India: Highest Sports Awards

1. Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award

The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, established in 1991, honors the legacy of the legendary Indian hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand. Renowned as one of India’s finest athletes, his exceptional skill and leadership left an indelible mark on the history of Indian hockey.

2. Arjuna Award

The Arjuna Award, initiated and established in 1961, pays homage to the legendary figure Arjuna from the Indian epic Mahabharata. Prior to the inception of the Khel Ratna, it stood as the preeminent honor in Indian sports. Athletes who demonstrated exemplary performance and dedication over a span of four or more years were eligible for this prestigious accolade. Recipients were bestowed with a statue of Arjuna, along with a cash prize and a certificate, in recognition of their remarkable achievements.

3. Dronacharya Award

Introduced in 1985, the Dronacharya Award stands as the pinnacle of recognition for coaches in India. It is bestowed upon those who have contributed significantly to the success of medal-winning athletes in esteemed international competitions and events. Named after Drona, the revered guru of Arjuna from the Indian epic Mahabharata, the award honors excellence in coaching. Recipients of this prestigious accolade are presented with a bronze statue of Drona, along with a monetary prize and a certificate, symbolizing their outstanding achievements in the field of sports coaching.

4. Major Dhyan Chand Award

The Major Dhyan Chand Award, named after the legendary Indian hockey player Dhyan Chand, stands as a distinguished accolade in Indian sports. It serves as a beacon of recognition for individuals who have exhibited unparalleled excellence and contributed significantly to the sporting landscape of India throughout their careers. This prestigious award symbolizes the pinnacle of achievement and honor for athletes, highlighting their outstanding contributions and accomplishments on the field.

5. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy (MAKA)

Introduced in 1956, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy (MAKA) stands as India’s most venerable National Sports Award. Named in honor of the esteemed Indian freedom fighter, Shri Abul Kalam Azad, who also served as the nation’s inaugural Education Minister, this accolade celebrates excellence in sportsmanship across the country.

6. Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar

The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar is a distinguished accolade bestowed upon both private and public corporations and organizations in India. Instituted in 2009, this prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of sports in the nation. Among the esteemed recipients, Tata Ratan and Tata Steel stand out, having earned this honor twice. Their commendable efforts have been particularly noteworthy in the categories of Nurturing of Budding Talent and Community Sports Identification, as well as in the management and establishment of sports academies. Through their dedication and initiatives, they have made significant strides in advancing sports culture and nurturing athletic talent across the country.