The award, which was announced on Monday, led Dhoni to offer prayers at Ranchi's ancient Deori Temple. Dhoni is the second cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to receive this award. "This is really a moment of happiness for Jharkhand that Dhoni is being awarded with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. He deserves it," said Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda. "We will celebrate along with our students and sports department of the school today," said Rishabh Banerjee, the sports teacher at DAV School. Sanjit, a student said: "I am proud. He was a student of our school. He had the potential of getting the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna."
The award is being given to Dhoni for winning the inaugural World Twenty20 Cup in 2007 and for leading the Indian one-day team to a rare tri-series win over Australia in Australia early this year.
The 27-year-old is expected to join the team for five one-dayers in Srilanka. starting in Colombo on July 23.
BCCI President Sharad Pawar also hailed Dhoni for his latest honour.
"We are very happy. He has represented the country with distinction, and deserves the honour. His exemplary leadership and demeanour under pressure, especially in the ICC World Twenty20 and the tri-series in Australia, mark him out as the ideal role-model for millions of young Indians, who want to make a mark in life," Pawar said.
Ace hockey striker Prabhjot Singh, golfer Arjun Atwal, athlete Chitra K. Soman and shooter Avneet Kaur Sidhu were among those recommended for the Arjuna Awards for the year 2007.
List of awardees: Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: M.S. Dhoni (cricket).
Arjuna Award: Prabhjot Singh (hockey), Alka Tomar (wrestling), Chitra K. Soman (athletics), Bajrang Lal Thakkar (rowing), Arjun Atwal (golf), Avneet Kaur Sidhu (shooting), K. Tombi Devi (judo), D. Harika (chess), Anup Sridhar (badminton), Varghese Johnson (boxing).
Dronacharya Award: Sanjeeva Singh (archery), Jagminder Singh (wrestling), Jagdish Singh (boxing), G.E.Sreedharan (volleyball).
Dhyan Chand Award: Gyan Pahalwan (wrestling), Hakam Singh (athletics), Mukhbain Singh (hockey).