Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu wins the BBC ISWOTY award

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Tokyo Olympics silver medallist weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu  has won the  BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year  (ISWOTY) award.

Another weightlifter and winner of bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics  Karnam Malleswari  received the BBC life time achievement award. While young cricketer Shafali Verma was named BBC’s emerging player.

These  awards were announced  at a  glittering  function held here last night which was attend among others  Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chauthala, Delhi Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia, Indian Olympic Association (IOA)  president Narinder Batra, former Haryana chief minister BS Hooda TMC  member of parliament  Mohua Mitra and several Olympians  sports officials and others prominent  media, and  culture  personalities.

Chanu  became the first Indian weightlifter to clinch a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Though  she was not present to receive the award herself , in a recorded message she  thanked the BBC and said, “I am currently training in the United States of America. I will give my best to win gold at this year’s Asian and Commonwealth Games. Thanks again to BBC India for honouring me with the BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year award.”

BBC’s Director General Tim Davie, who hosted the awards ceremony  hailed  Chanu and described her as “a fantastic sportswoman and a deserving winner of the award. It’s wonderful to be here in Delhi in the BBC’s centenary year, and to honour the talented Indian sportswomen who’ve achieved so much, often in the face of challenging circumstances.”

The ‘BBC Emerging Player’ award  was  presented to Shafali Verma, the youngest female cricketer who played for India in Women’s Twenty20 International match in 2019, in absentia as she is with the team for the World Cup’.

In her virtual  message She thanked the BBC for the award and said, “I hope to continue playing in the team for the next twenty to twenty five years. My aim would be to make the Indian team win as much possible.”

The first Indian woman to have won a medal at the Olympics in 2000, Karnam Malleswari  was presented the ‘BBC Lifetime Achievement’ award.  “After all the medals  have won, this award gives me a lot of motivation to work even harder. I am very thankful to the BBC that it is honouring not only the current players but players like us as well” she said.

In this edition of BBC ISWOTY, the Olympians and the Paralympians from the Tokyo games are also honoured including the  women’s and men’s hockey teams.

Odisha  chief minister Naveen Patnaik,, which sponsors both the hockey teams, congratulated the players, along with, President of International Hockey Federation Narinder Batra Several other sports personalities also congratulated the winners and nominees of BBC ISWOTY.

Neeraj Chopra, the reigning Tokyo Olympic champion in javelin throw congratulated the winner and all the nominees, “Whether it is Olympics or Paralympics, our women have always made the country feel proud. I would like to thank the BBC for organising the sportswomen award.”

Jos Butler, English Cricketer also sent a congratulatory message to the nominees, “I have seen some great performances from Indian sportswomen in cricket and other sports. Women’s cricket has progressed a lot in India and Shafali has the opportunity to be a role model for the next generation. “BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year award is a great way of honouring female players.

HSB

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