The event was launched by Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Sanjiv Goenka on September 8, to honor sportspersons for their on-field excellence.
Days after Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli and RP-SG Group Chairman Sanjiv Goenka launched the RP-SG Indian Sports Honours to reward sportspersons for their excellence on field, Kidambi Srikanth, PV Sindhu, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mithali Raj featured at the top on list of the awardees in the inaugural edition of the honours.
Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth – who recently became the first Indian and fourth male badminton player in the history of the game to bag four Super series titles in a calendar year – was honoured with the “Sportsman of the year” award in the individual sports categories. On the other hand, 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Pusarla Venkata Sindhu won the “Sportswoman of the year” trophy in the same category.
In the team events, the honour of the “Sportsman of the year” went to ace Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin – who recently became the fastest bowler in the cricket history to bag 300 Test wickets – and Indian women’s national cricket team captain Mithali Raj bagged the “Sportswoman of the year” award.
Speaking to the media post event, the organisers said, “The event was a spectacular affair, where India’s top performers in the sporting arena in the period from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017 were recognised and rewarded for their achievements. The event was graced by members of India’s sporting fraternity, luminaries from Bollywood and top Corporate. What made the Indian Sports Honours unique was that the winners were chosen by the key stakeholders of Indian Sport – the sports media, the fans and the sportspersons themselves.”
The event – which was conceptualised by Cornerstone Sport – was launched by Kohli and Goenka on September 8, 2017, to honor sportspersons for their excellence and to help identify and support potential sports athletes with scholarships.
During the launch of the event in September, Kohli had said, “India has made rapid strides as a sporting nation. The days of being a one-sport country are behind us. The time is just right to introduce an institution that will recognise and reward our top sporting achievers and put the spotlight on those who are expected to do the country proud in the years to come.”
With a total of nineteen honors being presented at the event, the main section comprises 10 categories – in which the Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) shortlisted the nominees and a panel headed by badminton legend Pullela Gopichand and Sanjiv Goenka picked the winners. Among the list of other juries were legendary athlete PT Usha, shooting stalwart Anjali Bhagwat, tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi and hockey maestro Arjun Halappa.
The event also comprised six ‘Popular Choice’ honours in which exclusive broadcast partner Star Sports was associated to pick the winners, who were selected on the basis of votes received on social networking platform Facebook.
In the “Popular Choice” category, Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya clinched the “Breakthrough Performance of the Year” award for his spectacular 76 against Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy. Freestyle wrestler Yogeswar Dutt bagged the ‘Spirit of Sports’ honour.
Apart from the major honours, seven young sportspersons including – Sumit Nagal (Tennis), Karman Kaur Thandi (Tennis), Divya Dhayal (Archery), Shivani Kataria (Swimming), Swastika Ghosh (Table Tennis), Aadil Bedi (Golf) and Aryamann Tandon (Badminton) – were inducted into the Virat Kohli Foundation’s (VKF) Athlete Development Programme – where the sportspersons will be supported and assisted in their training for three years, from January 2018 till December 2020.
Here is the full list of awardees at the RP-SG 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
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 (Sr)
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
Play of the year: Sunil Chhetri
Club of the year: Mumbai Indians
Best Fan Club: Manjappada Kerala Blasters