Bhubaneswar: Odisha won the ‘Best State for Promotion of Sports’ award for the second time in a row at the Sportstar ACES Awards in Mumbai yesterday. Odisha Sports minister Tusharkanti Behera received the award on behalf of the state.
This apart, ace para-badminton player from Odisha, Pramod Bhagat bagged the Sportsman of the Year (para-athlete) award while state’s hockey player Deep Grace Ekka won the Sportswoman of the Year (Team Sports) award.
“It adds another feather to Odisha’s cap and strengthens our resolve to transform Odisha into a global sports hub,” tweeted Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the feat.
The Indian Test team won the ‘Team of the Year’ award at Sportstar ACES Awards. In 2019, Virat Kohli-led side created history by winning their first Test series Down Under in 71 years and are currently ranked number one in ICC rankings. Indian team batting coach Vikram Rathour received the award on behalf of the team by BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.
Opener Rohit Sharma won the award for Sportsman of the Year (cricket) while Smriti Mandhana took the honours in the Sportswoman of the Year (cricket) category. Australia batsman Steve Smith was felicitated with the Chairman’s Choice Award for his stupendous performance on returning to the national side after serving his ban for ball tampering.
In racquet sports, ace badminton player B. Sai Praneeth won the Sportsman of the Year award. Olympic medalist P.V. Sindhu was declared the winner of Sportswoman of the Year. In the track and field category, 3000 metres Steeplechase athlete Avinash Sable received the Sportsman of the Year. In the same category, javelin thrower Annu Rani won the Sportswoman of the Year.
Indian hockey players took the honours for other team sports with men’s team captain Manpreet Singh and Deep Grace Ekka winning the awards. Singh successfully led India in the FIH Men’s Series Final victory as well as the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. Ekka was instrumental in team’s performance last year where they created history by earning first-ever back-to-back qualification for the Olympic Games.
Ace wrestler Bajrang Punia was declared the winner of Sportsman of the Year (other individual sport). Indian grandmaster Koneru Humpy and ace shooter Apurvi Chandela shared the Sportswoman of the Year (other individual sport).
Former India pacer and 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the sport. Chess coach R.B Ramesh and national badminton coach P. Gopichand shared the Coach of the Year award.
Rising stars R. Praggnanandhaa (chess) and shooter Mehuli Ghosh, won the Best Young Athlete awards in the male and female categories respectively.
The awards, that ran from 1994 to 2003 in their first stint, were re-instituted as Sportstar celebrated its 40th birthday in 2018. The awards jury consisted of sporting legends Sunil Gavaskar, Viswanathan Anand, M. M. Somaya, Aparna Popat, Anjali Bhagwat, and N. Ram, Chairman of the Hindu Group publishing.
(with IANS inputs)