In a bid to promote and revive Indian sports, the Virat Kohli Foundation (VKF), along with business tycoon Sanjiv Goenka and his RP Group recently organized the first ever Indian Sports Honours awards in Mumbai.
Indian Sports Honours: Recognizing the Unrecognized
With the sole aim of promoting young Indian sport personalities and making them efficient enough to compete at International events, the Indian Sports Honours will support athletes with potential scholarships and financial aid.
The Indian cricket team skipper has taken the onus upon himself and he is now bearing the expenses of 7 youngsters from various sports disciplines.
His foundation will be personally providing them training, nutritional expertise, education and sponsorship to develop them into a international level athletes.
VKF Athlete Development Programme – Scholarship Athletes
Sumit Nagal – Tennis
Karman Kaur Thandi – Tennis
Diya Dhayal – Archery
Shivani Kataria – Swimming
Swastika Ghosh – Table Tennis
Aadil Bedi – Golf
Aryamann Tandon – Badminton
The Managing Director of Star India Sanjay Gupta lauded the efforts made by Virat Kohli Foundation and RP-SG to honour India’s sporting heroes.
Speaking about the sports ecosystem in India Gupta said, “I commend the efforts of Virat Kohli Foundation and RP-SG to honour our sports heroes. Star Sports is proud to be a partner in this initiative.”
He further continued, “Our society values textbook learning and qualification-driven education much more than sports. On an average, children in India get to play for only 3 to 5 minutes per day. This is quite insufficient and not good for the development of the next generation.”
“I am certain that the Indian Sports Honours will not only inspire the young, but also act as a catalyst for changing the mind-sets of both the parents and teachers towards building a healthier sports eco-system,” Gupta concluded.
The man of the moment Virat Kohli was charged up to support this noble cause.
He said that, “The idea behind this initiative is to create a platform to reward sports personalities for their achievements during the course of a year.”
“India has made rapid strides as a sporting nation, and the days of being a one-sport country are behind us.”
“The time is right to introduce an institution that will recognize our top sporting achievers. We need to put the spotlight on those, who are expected to do the country proud in years to come,” concluded Virat.
Involvement of Premier Stakeholders of Indian Sports
National badminton coach and former All England Open Badminton Championship winner Pullela Gopichand is heading the jury.
Although the Indian Sports Honours awards sportsperson across disciplines including cricket, team skipper Virat “The Run Machine” Kohli had kept himself out of all the nominations.
In total 20 sportsperson got honoured for their brilliant show in the respective sports category.
Apart from the high-profile jury that comprised of top yesteryear Indian athletes, sports journalists, even the fans had a say in who gets the award.
What makes these sporting awards unique is the direct involvement of the premier stakeholders of Indian sports; who are the sports-persons themselves, legends who have excelled at the highest level, the sports media, and the ardent Indian fans. The popular choice award was voted by fans.
The first award ceremony was held on November 11th in Mumbai, which was a black-tie, red-carpet event, with members of Indian sporting family, Bollywood and fans in attendance.
Some Proven and Prominent Winners
The night that ideally belonged to the sports fraternity, and Mithali Raj certainly got her due for leading the Indian women’s cricket team from the front.
It was a day of double delight for Indian Women’s Cricket team captain at the inaugural Indian Sports Honours award night. The 34-year-old bagged the award for the “SportsWoman of the Year” and the coveted prize for the “Team of the Year.”
At the honours, she had a day to remember. All the fans of Mithali were delighted and shared the joy on social media, to give a tribute to the highest run scorer in history of women’s cricket.
Saina Nehwal, the shining star of India Badminton and Olympic Medalist was awarded the “Comeback of the Year” award.
The competition in this category was tough one. She overcame nominees like Amit Rohidas (Hockey), Kedar Jadhav (Cricket) and Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi). The aforementioned nominees had also witnessed a gritty comeback tales of their own.
Kidambi Srikanth, the blue eyed boy of India Badminton surpassed yet another milestone in his career, as he was conferred with the “Sportsperson of the Year Award” at the Indian Sports Honours gala.
Srikanth has been in top form this year, having won four Superseries titles so far, in 2017.
He won the French Open, Denmark Open, Indonesia Open and Australia Open. The last two of these were successive tournament wins. And with Dubai Superseries coming up next, Kidambi would like to end the year on a high and win his 5th title of the year.
The award “Best Player in Team” was given to ICC cricketer of the year, R Ashwin. He recently dethroned Denis Lillee to become the fastest 300 test wicket taking bowler. He was nominated against some tough contenders.
Kabaddi player Pardeep Narwal, Indian national football team captain Sunil Chhetri and Indian hockey star Rupinder Pal Singh were some of his contenders.
For the same category, the jury nominated Hardik Pandya and Cheteshwar Pujara as well
Indian Sports Honours – Where Celebrities met Sports stars
The event held in Mumbai was a truly glamorous affair between the Film Stars and Sports stars.
Sania Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Prannoy Kumar, Pullela Gopichand, Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin were among the sports stars present.
Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Sohail Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Siddharth Malhotra and Malaika Arora Khan were some of the Bollywood stars supporting the cause while Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma played the perfect hosts for the guests.
The fan votes decide the awards and prominent sports journalists from India were a part of awards jury.
Here’s the complete list of honours presented at the inaugural Indian Sports Honours
- Sportsman of the year (Individual sport): Srikanth Kidambi
- Sportsman of the year (Team sport) – Ravichandran Ashwin
- Sportswoman of the year (Individual sport) – P.V. Sindhu
- Sportswoman of the year (Team sport) – Mithali Raj
- Team of the year (Men/Women) – Indian Women’s Cricket Team
- Coach of the year – Bisveshwar Nandi (Dipa Karmakar’s coach)
- Emerging Sportswoman of the year – Aditi Ashok
- Emerging Sportsman of the year – Neeraj Chopra
- Differently abled Sportsman of the year – Devendra Jhajaria
- Differently abled Sportswoman of the year – Deepa Malik
- Keep Walking Honour for Lifetime achievement – Balbir Singh
- Inspirational Honour – Sania Mirza
- Transformational Contribution to Sport – Abhinav Bindra
Popular Choice Honours
- Breakthrough performance of the year – Hardik Pandya
- Star Sports ‘Believe’ Honour (Comeback of the year) – Saina Nehwal
- Spirit of Sport – Yogeshwar Dutt
- Player of the year – Sunil Chhetri
- Club of the year – Mumbai Indians
- Best Fan Club – Manjappada Kerala Blasters.
Congratulations to all the deserved winners from team KreedOn!