05 March, 2023 |


Dronacharya Award: The Highest Honour for Coaches in Sports & Games

The Dronacharya Award is India's highest honour which is awarded to outstanding coaches in the field of Sports and Games. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports sets up a committee that guides and assists in choosing the recipients and rewards them with the Dronachary Award on an annual basis. The prize includes a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a certificate, a ceremonial outfit, and a cash payment of Rs. 5 lakhs. The Dronacharya Award is presented to the coaches who not only serve as a mentor but also plays a crucial role in raising the performance of their athletes to global standards.

The Legend

The Dronacharya Award is named after the mythical figure Drona, who taught the Kauravas and Pandavas, the main characters of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the skill of combat. The first recipient of the Dronacharya Award, Bhalchandra Bhaskar Bhagwat, received it in 1985, the year the award was first presented. Some of the eminent coaches who were honoured with the Dronacharya Award are as follows:

Pullela Gopichand

Pullela Gopichand, a former All England champion and current head national coach of the Indian badminton team, is generally recognized for having revolutionized the game in India during the past ten years. India is now one of the top competitors in the world of badminton, thanks to Pullela Gopichand's tenure as coach and two Olympic gold. In 2008, he established the famous Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy at Gachibowli, Hyderabad. In 2009, the Dronacharya Award was given to Gopichand. He had previously won the Arjuna Award in 1999, making this his second national sports honour.

Mahavir Singh Phogat

Mahavir Singh Phogat got the Dronacharya Award in 2016. He is better known as the father of the two most well-known wrestling siblings in India, Geeta and Babita Phogat (The Dangal Sisters). Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler who later became a coach, began his career in Haryana in the 1990s. His daughters Geeta, Babita, Ritu Phogat, who has recently turned to mixed martial arts (MMA), and Sangeeta Phogat all owe much of their success to him. In addition, Vinesh Phogat, a gold medalist at the Asian and Commonwealth Games, and Priyanka Phogat were coached by Mahavir Singh Phogat.

Syed Nayeemuddin

The sole Dronacharya Award bestowed for football was given to former national team captain and football player from India, Syed Nayeemuddin. He received honours in 1990. Following his retirement from playing, he transitioned into coaching and began working with the Kolkata team Mohammedan SC. The team reached its pinnacle in 1983 when they defeated Mohun Bagan to win the Federation Cup and become national champions. During his time as coach, he led India to three international championships and triumphed in 35 competitions as a club coach.

MK Kaushik

MK Kaushik, also known as Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, was the coach of the men's and women's Indian hockey teams and won an Olympic gold medal with the Indian men's hockey team in Moscow in 1980. The Indian women's hockey team won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2006 Asian Games under the coaching of MK Kaushik, who also led the Indian men's hockey team to victory at the Asian Games in 1998. In 2002, MK Kaushik was honoured with the Dronacharya Award.


One can never achieve their ambitions without the help of their teacher. They are the ones who stand with the players during the hard times and help them in tackling the hindrances. So coaches and teachers are very important in life as they shape us to face the world. One of those crucial motivating factors that help anyone succeed is recognition and gratitude. By honouring the coaches, you are recognizing their dedication, respect for the country, and love of sports.


Coaches who have made a significant contribution to a sport or had a key role in an athlete's ascent to the top in India are recognized with the Dronacharya Award. It is also offered to coaches as a means of encouraging them to focus on improving their athletes' performances to meet international standards. This distinction not only recognizes the coaches' work but also helps them understand how crucial they are to the players' lives. We can therefore draw the conclusion that while we may reach the sky with our efforts, the truth is that it was our coaches or teachers who made it possible for us to do so.

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