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Dronacharya Award

Dronacharya Award

The coaches always play a crucial role in shaping an athlete's career as well as the whole team. Such mentorship is rewarded in India by honouring the coach with the Droncacharya award. This is the highest award presented to a coach of any national sport in India.

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Birth of Dronacharya Award

The first-ever Dronacharya Award was presented in 1985. However, the award was inspired by Dronacharya, an epic hero from the myths of Mahabharata. He was a military training instructor who trained both Kauravas and Pandavas. For that reason, he was called Guru Drona. In addition, he had a great knowledge of using divine weapons which made him an ideal figure for the highest coaching achievement.

    Selection process and Nominations

    Though we have briefly touched on this topic earlier, we will delve into it in greater deal here.

    The Sports Authority of India and the National Anti Doping Agency must first clear the names of all the nominees. Any athlete who has tested positive for controlled substances is automatically disqualified from the selection process. The preliminary selection committee includes officials from the Sports Ministry, the SAI and the NADA.

    In the next stage, all valid names are examined by another committee which has government officials, sports administrators, experts, and previous winners of the Khel Ratna. Every nominee receives marks on the basis of the profile of the competition in which they have won an award. For example, an athlete who has won an Olympic Gold gets 80 points. An Olympic Silver Medalist would get 70 marks, and so on.

    In the final stage, the Sports Minister approves the names of athletes selected by the committee.

    Over the years, several world champions have received the Major Hyan Chand Khel Award.

    How coaches are selected

    There is a distinct procedure that is entirely based on two things:

    • Contribution of the coach
    • His/her coaching's impact on the team or individual athlete's success.

    Every year, the Sports Authority of India asks sports federations and boards to nominate coaches. However, only two coaches can be nominated from a single sport.

    Upon clearance from the anti-doping agency, names are put forward to the Sports Ministry of India for final approval. There is a point-based ranking system for the unbiased evaluation of performance.

    Rules and Requirements

    All coaches must complete their registration before the 30th of April in the given year. They should be clear on the ethical rules adopted by the sports federations. Also, the sport must be recognized by the Sports Authority of India. In addition:

    • For the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, 80 points are awarded to the coach of the gold medalist, and 70 and 55 points, respectively, to the trainers of the silver and bronze medalists.
    • For championships and world cups, 40 points are awarded to the winning team coach, and 30 and 20 points to the second and third-placed team coaches.
    • For the Asian Games, the gold winner coaches get 30 points, with 25 and 20 points, respectively to silver and bronze winner coaches.
    • For the Commonwealth games, 25, 20, and 15 points are awarded to the gold, silver, and bronze medal-winning coaches, respectively.
    • The performance evaluation is based on achievements over the previous four years.

    The winner receives a prize of 25,00,000 rupees and a statue of guru Drona.

    The First Dronacharya Award ceremony

    The first Dronacharya Award was presented in 1985. The ceremony was hosted by the Government of India and the President honoured three coaches for their outstanding achievements in the sports world.

    The First Winners of the Dronacharya Awards

    This award can be awarded to more than one coach. In some years, as many as 6 coaches have been honoured with Dronacharya Awards. However, in the first year, three outstanding coaches were rewarded. These first winners had not only made an impact on the professional sports world but they had also inspired many young children all around India. The three coaches were:

    Bhalchandra Bhaskar Bhagwat - Wrestling

    Om Prakash Bhardwaj - Boxing

    O. M. Nambiar - Athletics

    Winner's List


    Desh Prem Azad-Cricket
    Raghunandan Vasant Gokhle-Chess


    Gurcharan Singh-Cricket
    Guru Hanuman-Wrestling


    Ramakant Achrekar-Cricket
    A. Ramana Rao-Volleyball
    Syed Naeemuddin-Football


    Ilyas Babar-Athletics


    Karan Singh-Athletics
    Shyam Sunder Rao-Volleyball


    Wilson Jones-Billiards & Snooker
    Pal Singh Sandhu-Weightlifting


    Joginder Singh Saini-Athletics


    G. S. Sandhu-Boxing
    Bahadur Singh Chouhan-Athletics
    Hargobind Singh Sandhu-Athletics


    Hawa Singh-Boxing
    Kenneth Owen Bosen -Athletics
    Ajay Kumar Sirohi-Weightlifting


    Bhupender Dhawan-Powerlifting
    S. M. Arif-Badminton
    Hansa Sharma-Weightlifting
    Gudial Singh Bhangu-Hockey
    Gopal Purushottam Phadke-Kho kho


    Sunny Thomas-Shooting
    Michael Ferreira-Billiards & Snooker


    Homi Motivala-Yachting
    Maharaj Krishan Kaushik-Hockey
    Renu Kohli-Athletics
    Jaswant Singh-Athletics
    E. Prasad Rao-Kabaddi


    Sukhchain Singh Cheema-Wrestling
    Anoop Kumar-Boxing
    Robert Bobby George-Athletics
    Rajinder Singh Jr.-Hockey


    Cyrus Poncha-Squash
    Arvind Savur-Billiards & Snooker
    Sunita Sharma-Cricket


    Ismail Baig-Rowing
    Balwan Singh-Kabaddi
    Maha Singh Rao-Wrestling
    M. Venu-Boxing


    Koneru Ashok-Chess
    Damodaran Chandralal-Boxing
    R. D. Singh-Athletics


    Jagdish Singh-Boxing
    Sanjeeva Kumar Singh-Archery
    Jagminder Singh-Wrestling
    G. E. Sridharan-Volleyball


    Jaydev Bisht-Boxing
    S. Baldev Singh-Hockey
    Pullela Gopichand-Badminton
    Satpal Singh-Wrestling


    Subhash Agarwal-Billiards & Snooker
    Captain Chandrup-Wrestling
    Ajay Kumar Bansal-Hockey
    L Ibomcha Singh-Boxing
    A. K. Kutty-Athletics


    Devender Kumar Rathore-Gymnastics
    Inukurthi Venkateshwara Roy-Boxing


    B. I. Fernandez-Boxing
    Sunil Dabas-Kabaddi
    Harendra Singh-Hockey
    Satyapal Singh-Athletics
    Virender Poonia-Athletics
    Yashvir Singh-Wrestling


    Purnima Mahato-Archery
    Mahavir Singh-Boxing
    Narender Singh Saini-Hockey


    Mahabir Prasad-Wrestling
    Anoop Singh Dahiya-Wrestling


    Sagar Mal Dhayal-Boxing
    Naval Singh-Athletics


    Bishweshwar Nandi-Gymnastics
    Rajkumar Sharma-Cricket
    Nagapuri Ramesh-Athletics


    Heera Nand Kataria-Kabaddi
    R. Gandhi-Athletics


    Vijay Sharma-Weightlifting
    Subedar Chenanda Achaiah Kuttappa-Boxing
    A. Srinivasa Rao-Table Tennis
    Sukhdev Singh Pannu-Athletics


    U. Vimal Kumar-Badminton
    Mohinder Singh Dhillon-Athletics
    Sandip Gupta-Table Tennis


    Yogesh Malviya-Mallakhamb
    Kuldeep Kumar Handoo-Wushu
    Jaspal Rana-Shooting
    Jude Sebastian-Hockey
    Gaurav Khanna-Badminton


    Coaches are people who help create winners out of talented athletes. Usually, they get lost in the background unless they are coaches of league teams. The Dronacharya Award celebrates these unsung heroes.

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    Gian Chacko

    Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.