Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel has announced that all Paralympics medallists and winners in the Rio 2016 Olympics would be treated as eligible for Khel Ratnas, at par with other athletes and medallists. 

The Sports Minister, who was in Hyderabad to visit the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy , told The Times of India:

“All the paralympic medallists will be treated at par with other Olympic medallists. They will also be getting Khel Ratna.”

He also said:

“I think winning an Olympic medal is a bigger achievement than Khel Ratna.” 

India sent its largest ever contingent of athletes to the Paralympics in Rio. Out of 19 athletes, four have won medals. Devendra Jhajharia and Mariyappan Thangavelu won gold. Deepa Malik and Varun Singh Bhati won silver and bronze medals, respectively.

b’Source: Reutersxc2xa0′

Whether Paralympic athletes should be treated as the same as Olympics athletes had been a contentious discussion ever since India won four medals in the 2016 Paralympics, especially when it came to bestowing Khel Ratnas. 

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is the highest sporting honor in the country. All four Paralympic medallists will be awarded Khel Ratnas next year. 

Feature Image Source: PTI/Reuters