Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has been announced the winner of the third edition of the BBC Indian sportswoman of the year award.
Mirabai Chanu created history in 2021 when she became the first Indian weightlifter to clinch a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
In her reaction to winning the award, Mirabai Chanu 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.”
Tim Davie, BBC’s director general, who hosted the awards ceremony in New Delhi said: “Congratulations to Mirabai Chanu, who is 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 has been presented to Shafali Verma, the youngest female cricketer who played for India in the women’s T20 international match in 2019. She thanked the BBC for the award and said: “I hope to continue playing in the team for the next 20 to 25 years. My aim would be to make the Indian team win as much as possible.”
The first Indian woman to have won a medal at the Olympics in 2000, Karnam Malleswari has been presented the BBC lifetime achievement award. Expressing her joy she said: “After all the medals I 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.”
— BBC News India (@BBCIndia) March 28, 2022
In this edition of the BBC Indian sportswoman of the year award, the Olympians and the Paralympians from the Tokyo games were also honoured including the Indian women’s and men’s hockey teams.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who sponsors both the hockey teams, congratulated the players, along with Narinder Batra, president of the International Hockey Federation.
Several other sports personalities also congratulated the winners and nominees of the BBC sports awards.
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.”