A museum in memory of hockey legend Dhyan Chand will come up in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced.
Dhyan Chand, who passed away in 1979, should be the first sportsperson to be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the country, Chouhan said at a felicitation programme at his residence Friday night.
Last month, changes were made in the qualifying criteria for Bharat Ratna and sportpersons are now eligible for the award.
Dhyan Chand's name has been referred by Hockey India (HI) to the sports ministry for the award. India's batting great Sachin Tendulkar and shooter Abhinav Bindra, India's first individual Olympic champion, are also in the reckoning for the honour.
Chouhan said Dhyan Chand deserves to be the first sportsperson to be conferred with the Bharat Ratna since he won three Olympic gold medals (1928, 1932 and 1936).
"Hockey is the soul of Indian sports, but it is not getting the honour it should have. Major Dhyan Chand had helped India to win three Olympics gold medals. The world has recognised his unique style of playing," said Chouhan.
Chouhan said cricket's lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) has diverted the attention from the national sport and reiterated that incentives will be given to deserving hockey players.
At the function, the 18 members of the Indian men's team that won Asian Champions Trophy 2011 and 28 Olympians who had taken part in the 1936 Berlin gOlympics, were felicitated. Eighteen members of national junior women's hockey team and coaches and 16 members of sub-junior women's team with their coaches were also felicitated.
The Olympians and senior players were awarded with Rs.1 lakh each while the junior and sub-juniors were given Rs.10,000 and Rs.20,000 each.
The chief minister also gave away appointment letters in various departments to players Amardeep, Shalu Raikwar, Anjali Koshthha, Anupam Lonekar, Shareef Khan and Shri Sindhya.