India football captain Sunil Chhetri on Sunday said his Khel Ratna Award belongs to everyone who has loved football and backed the game.
Chhetri was conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award on Saturday. The President of India Ram Nath Kovind conferred National Sports Awards to the athletes.
Chhetri along with, Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, wrestler Ravi Kumar, para shooter Avani Lekhara, and India women's cricket stalwart Mithali Raj were among the 12 athletes who received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
"To my family that is Indian football, here it is. This belongs to all of us who have loved our sport and backed it through so much. Grateful to Honourable President, the Sports Minister and the committee that deemed me worthy of receiving this honour. Back to working harder," tweeted.
For the record, Sunil is the first Indian footballer to have received the award -- the highest award for a sportsman in India.
Sunil on 80 goals is currently tied with Lionel Messi at the second place in the goalscorers list among active footballers at the International level, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading on 115 goals. He had earlier been conferred with the Padma Shri Award and the Arjuna Award.
The specially organised award function is being held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. National Sports Awards are given every year to recognise and reward excellence in sports.