A number of coaches also received awards at the prestigious event.

The first-ever SAI Institutional Awards for Athletes and Coaches were given out by the Sports Authority of India on Wednesday, in the presence of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Anurag Thakur and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Nisith Pramanik. Also present were Secretary-Sports Smt Sujata Chaturvedi, Director-General, Sports Authority of India, Shri Sandip Pradhan, as well as other officials from the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India.

A total of 162 athletes and 84 coaches have been conferred awards in the Outstanding Award and Best Award category for their performance in national and international competitions, with cash awards amounting to a total of Rs 85.02 Lakhs during the ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. The awards acknowledged the exceptional performance of the SAI athletes and coaches under the various sports promotion schemes at the national and international level from 2016. The awards thus have been granted to the deserving candidates for the years of 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Praising the award winners, Shri Thakur said, “I heartily congratulate all athletes and coaches who have been awarded today. Sports is very close to the heart of our Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi ji and taking his vision forward, a host of facilities are being extended to athletes. Every athlete is an inspiration for his generation.”

Shri Thakur also added the importance of Sports being an integral part of the National Education Policy. “When the sporting achievements of a student are announced in his or her school, it inspires other students to look beyond just academics and include sports in their life. That is the power of an athlete. I am also glad that sport has become an integral part of the National Education Policy and therefore is a part of every student’s life now,” Shri Thakur added.

The categories of awards were Outstanding Award (for National level achievements) and Best Award (for International level achievements). The selection committee comprised senior SAI officials as well as eminent sports persons, who streamlined the nominations received from the Regional Directors of the various SAI National Centres of Excellence.

“It’s a momentous occasion to see the awards given out in the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. I wish all the success to the champions. These awards are a way of assuring our athletes and coaches that the Sports Authority of India is always there is to support them,” Minister of State Shri Pramanik mentioned.

The awardees have also been given a special tailor-made blazer along with a citation.

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