'Hopefully, sports stadium names will be after sportsmen too' - Irfan Pathan after Khel Ratna Award is renamed

Irfan Pathan put out a tweet saying that he loved the move by the Indian government.

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Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan shared his views on the Indian government’s move to rename the highest sporting honor of the country. For years now, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been given to sportspersons for their excellence in the field of sports. However, from August 6, 2021, the name of the award was changed to Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. 

The change was announced by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who expressed that he got requests from many people across the country which made him change the name. Rajiv Gandhi, son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was himself a Prime Minister and in his honour, the name of the highest sporting award was given. 

However, in recent times, people have expressed that the award should be named after a sporting legend. Major Dhyan Chand was one of the first sporting icons of India. He was a hockey player and won three consecutive Olympic gold medals (in 1928, 1932, and 1936). Renaming the award is a fitting tribute to one of the legends in Indian sporting history. 

Hopefully, start of many such things in sports: Irfan Pathan

Sharing his views on this matter on Twitter, Irfan Pathan said that he absolutely loved the move. He said that he hopes it is the start of many such things in sports. He further added another tweet in which he said that he also is hopeful that in the time to come, stadiums will be named after sporting icons. 

“Absolutely welcome this move. Sportsman getting recognition and award being named after him or her. Hopefully, start of many such things in sports  #DhyanChandAward #dhyanchand ji. Hopefully in the future sports stadium names will be after sportsmen too,” Irfan Pathan’s two tweets read. 

It is anyone’s guess if Irfan Pathan was trying to take a sly dig at the decision of Prime Minister Modi. A few months back, people on Twitter had criticized the PM and his associates for naming the newly built Motera Cricket Stadium as Narendra Modi Stadium. Nevertheless, for now, no one will know if this was a sly dig or not but citizens have embraced this decision of the name change. 

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