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Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: The Sports Ministry on Thursday invited applications for the national sports awards, allowing eligible athletes, coaches, universities and other entities to self-nominate and apply online for a second year running because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last date of submitting applications is June 21.

“In view of the current pandemic situation, the nominations for the National Sports Awards will be accepted online, this year,” the Ministry said in a release.

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“Last year the Sports Ministry had for the first time allowed for self nomination of applicants in view of the pandemic.

“This year too, self nomination will be allowed. National Sporting Federations will also nominate athletes for the top honours,” it added.

Till 2019, applicants needed recommendations to be able to apply but the condition was waived off last year as the COVID-19 lockdown prevented smooth movement of people.

Last year, 74 recipients were bestowed with the awards.

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The prize money was also increased significantly with the Khel Ratna awardees receiving Rs 25 lakh, Arjuna awardees Rs 15 lakh, Dhronacharya (Lifetime) Rs 15 lakh, and Dhyanchand winners Rs 10 lakh.

In an unprecedented move, cricketer Rohit Sharma, women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, paralympian Mariyappan Thangavelu and TT player Manika Batra were jointly awarded the Khel Ratna last year.

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