Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia is the Indian Sportsperson of the Year. The honour was conferred on one of India’s biggest promise for an Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games this year at Sportstar Annual Awards in Mumbai last night.
This is no mean achievement for the rapidly rising sport of wrestling as Punia’s feat is recognised as the best among a host of nominees from different sports disciplines.
Bajrang wrested the Sportsman of the Year (Individual Sport) award from Amit Panghal and Pankaj Advani.
“I am sad to not be present with you all there. I am occupied with the season’s first tournament, which is a world ranking one and will help up in Olympic qualification,” Bajrang told Sportstar after being named the sportsman of the year in individual sports.
“I thank Sportstar and The Hindu for giving me this award. I will try my best to have our country’s flag flying high at the Olympics and I request you to continue to show me your love and blessings.”
Bajrang had won bronze at the UWW World Championships in 2019 Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The 25-year-old has also bagged gold medals at top-level events including the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament, the Asian Championships (his second continental title), the Ali Aliev tournament and the Tiblis Grand Prix.
The Indian Test side was named the Team of the Year while star wrestler Bajrang Punia was chosen as the Sportsman of the Year in individual category at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Monday, adds PTI.
Chess ace Koneru Humpy and star shooter Apurvi Chandela jointly won the Sportswoman of the Year (Individual Sports) Award.
Batsman Rohit Sharma bagged the Cricketer of the Year Award (Male) while Smriti Mandhana was named the top player in the women’s category.
World champion shuttler P V Sindhu won the Sportswoman of the Year (racquet sports) Award while legendary tennis player Leander Paes, who is set to retire this year, bagged the Special Recognition Award at a glittering function here.
Indian men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh won the Sportsman of the Year (Team Sports) Award. Shooter Mehuli Ghosh was named as the female Young Athlete of the Year.
The Indian Test team had a phenomenal record last year, winning a historic series in Australia for the first time.
In the home season, the Test team whitewashed South Africa (3-0) and Bangladesh (2-0).
The jury comprised former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand, the Hindu Publishing Group chairman N Ram, former India hockey captain M M Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat.