BBC announces Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2019 Award
Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Olympic Weightlifting medallist Karnam Malleswari on Thursday tipped Mirabai Chanu as India’s weightlifting medal hope at Tokyo Games 2020 Medal.
“I think Mirabai Chanu (48kg) has very good chance to have podium finish at Tokyo Olympics. She has been performing well recently and if she maintains her form i Think she will get medal for the country”’ Malleswai told media persons here at a launch of BBC’s Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2019 Award.
“ Standard of weightlifting has improved a lot in the country , more women are now into this sport, infrastructure is better and lifters are getting more exposure” she said adding “But i still feel that compared to other disciplines, Women’s weightlifting is not getting the attention and support which it deserves”
Malleswari, the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Olympics (2000 Sydney Games), exhorted the Indian women to take to sports in a big way “ because it gives confidence and self belief. Not everyone is going to shine or do very well but sportswomen will have motivation to do something good for families and society””
“It is indeed hearting to see that BBC has taken a giant step by launching a Indian Sportswoman of the year award” said Malleswari who in 1992 became the first Indian woman to win a world title in any sport” “The BBC award is a testimony and tribute to Indian sportswomen who have brought several laurels for the country despite facing hardships and restrictions”
The much decorated weightlifter went through the memory lane by recalling her journey from obscurity to fame “ I tell my young trainees that there is no alternative to hard work. Luck is a factor but without dedication and commitment nothing can be achieved.
Recipient of country’s highest sporting honour, ”Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna” , Malleswai however lamented that she has still not got any sponsor for her Weightlifting academy” I am running the academy in which 55 children are being provide free training cum education but I still have not received much financial help from outside”
Elaborating the concept behind the BBC’s Indian Sportswoman award, Head of Indian languages Rupa Jha said “Ït is very important for us to highlight the fantastic achievements that many of our women sports personalities have had but also to highlight the huge challenges many have faced and to raise the profile of women’s sport””
She said the winner of BBC India Sportswoman of the year 2019 will be voted for by fans from the shortlist compiled by a jury of sports journalists, experts and sports writers across India. The winner will be announced on 8th March 2020 in New Delhi
It was also announced that a legendary sportswoman who has contributed exceptionally to the field of Indian sports will be honoured by Lifetime Achievement Award at that function.
Head of Business Development ,Asia-Pacific at BBC World Indu Shekhar Sinha disclosed that 1 in ten persons around the world who watches, hears, sees or keeps tab on BBC’s networks is a Indian “ India is one of the biggest market for BBC and this is the first time that such an award is being instituted outside England”