The Arjuna Awards are given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports. Instituted in 1961, the award carries a cash prize of Rs. 500,000, a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll.
Over the years the scope of the award has been expanded and a large number of sports persons who belonged to the pre-Arjuna Award era were also included in the list. Further, the number of disciplines for which the award is given was increased to include indigenous games and the physically handicapped category.
The Government has recently revised the scheme for the Arjuna Award. As per the revised guidelines, to be eligible for the Award, a sportsperson should not only have had good performance consistently for the previous three years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the Award is recommended, but should also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
From the year 2001, the award is given only in disciplines falling under the following categories:
• Olympic Games / Asian Games / Commonwealth Games / World Cup / World Championship Disciplines and Cricket
• Indigenous Games
• Sports for the Physically Challenged
In mid-August 2011, 19 athletes were announced as Arjuna recipients; the high number due to the inclusion of both the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games in the Arjuna qualifying year.
In 2012, 25 sports-persons were conferred with the Arjuna awards.