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No Arjuna award for Indian chess players

by Sagar Shah - 31/08/2017

Indian chess is booming and we have some amazing achievements by our top players over the years. The Arjuna award is given to sports players for their outstanding achievement in national sports. Anand, Harikrishna, Ganguly, Sasikiran and many other top players have received the Arjuna Award in the past. However, three of our brightest talents - Vidit Gujrathi, B. Adhiban and S.P. Sethuraman have had some phenomenal achievements to their credit in the past year and they surely deserved the award. No Arjuna for chess players - that's pretty disheartening.

The Arjuna Awards are given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports. Instituted in 1961, the award carries a cash prize of ₹ 500,000, a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll.

The last Indian chess player to win it was Abhijeet Gupta in 2013

2013! That's four years ago! So many new and phenomenal achievements have been made by many of our young talents. 17 players received Arjuna awards in 2017 and none of them were from field of chess. Some say that the reason for this is because chess is not an Olympic sport. However, a sport being a part of Olympic games is not a pre-requisite for Arjuna award to be given.


From the year 2001, the award is given only in disciplines falling under the following categories:

1. Olympic Games / Asian Games / Commonwealth Games / World Cup / World Championship Disciplines and Cricket

2. Indigenous Games

3. Sports for the Physically Challenged


Vidit reaching 2700 is surely Arjuna award worthy. Perhaps he reached 2700 a bit too late for the panel to take notice for 2017 awards, but then he should be given one in 2018. | Amruta Mokal

To bring Magnus Carlsen on the brink of defeat and to beat World Championship challenger and to have a rating of 2680+, well Adhiban surely is a perfect candidate for the Arjuna Award. | Alina l'Ami

Reaching round three of World Cup beating Harikrishna, and winning the Asian Championship 2016 by defeating Wei Yi in the final round. Does that count for nothing? | Amruta Mokal

Three time National Champion, individual gold medalist in Tromso Olympiad, Padmini Rout is a deserving candidate for the Arjuna Award. |Amruta Mokal

Arjuna award winners for 2017

Name of the Awardees Discipline
Ms. V.J. Surekha Archery
Ms. Khushbir Kaur Athletics
Mr. Arokia Rajiv Athletics
Ms. Prasanthi Singh Basketball
Sub. Laishram Debendro Singh Boxing
Mr. Cheteshwar Pujara Cricket
Ms. Harmanpreet Kaur Cricket
Ms. OinamBembem Devi Football
Mr. S.S.P. Chawrasia Golf
Mr. S.V. Sunil Hockey
Mr. Jasvir Singh Kabaddi
Mr. P. N. Prakash Shooting
Mr. A. Amalraj Table Tennis
Mr. Saketh Myneni Tennis
Mr. Satyawart Kadian Wrestling
Mr. Mariyappan Para-Athlete
Mr. Varun Singh Bhati Para-Athlete

Chess players who have won Arjuna award in the past

Tania receives the Arjuna Award from President Pratbha Patil
S.No. Year Name
1 1961 Manuel Aaron
2 1980-81 Rohini Khadilkar
3 1983 Dibyendu Barua
4 1984 Pravin Thipsay
5 1985 Viswanathan Anand
6 1987 D. V. Prasad
7 1987 Bhagyashree Thipsay
8 1990 Anupama Gokhale
9 2000 Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi
10 2002 Krishnan Sasikiran
11 2003 Koneru Humpy
12 2005 Surya Shekhar Ganguly
13 2006 Pentyala Harikrishna
14 2008 Dronavalli Harika
15 2009 Tania Sachdev
16 2010 Parimarjan Negi
17 2013 Abhijeet Gupta

The list should at least grow to 20 in the next year. That's the least the government can do to boost the game of chess in our country. There is also Dronacharya Award which is given to outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis that enabled sportspersons to excel in international events over a period of four years. Raghunandan Gokhale won it in 1986 and Ashok Koneru received it in 2006. I am sure that Ramesh R.B. (the man who has helped India win its first Olympiad team medal) and Visweswaran (coach of Adhiban and many others) are deserving candidates.

The government of India made a good move when it gave Vishy Anand the Padma Vibhushan (second highest civilian award) in 1992. Anand was the first sportsplayer to win that award. Well, it is now time that our five-time World Champion gets the highest civilian - Bharat Ratna for the service that he has done to our country by winning one World Championship after another.

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