Sportstar Aces Awards: Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, silver medalist Mirabai Chanu win top honours
Mumbai, March 20, 2022
It was a star-studded evening at the Sportstar Aces awards 2022 in Mumbai on Saturday where golden boy Neeraj Chopra and Olympic silver medalist Mirabai Chanu bagged the top honours.
The awards night was made memorable with the presence of India's top athletes - with Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain, members of the Indian Men and Women's Hockey Teams, 2008 Beijing Olympics Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra, former India cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin and International Hockey Federation president Narinder Dhruv Batra, among other sporting icons, in attendance.
The annual awards ceremony hosted at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai celebrated landmark victories of Indian sportspersons in 2021.
While India's first-ever Olympic gold medalist from track and field Neeraj Chopra was named Sportstar of the Year (Male) and the Sportsman of the Year Track and Field, silver medalist Mirabai Chanu was awarded the Sportstar of the Year (Female). She also jointly won the Sportswoman of the Year (Individual Sports) award along with the boxing sensation and Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain.
Expressing his gratitude to the Sportstar Aces, an elated Neeraj Chopra said: "Awards motivate me. Thank you Sportstar. I feel very honoured to receive this award. The love and accolades I have received after the Olympic success makes me all the more motivated to perform my best."
2021 was eventful for Indian hockey as both the men's and women's hockey teams created history at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 last year. The Indian Men's Hockey Team that ended a 41-year Olympic medal drought by clinching the Bronze in Tokyo won the National Team of the Year award along with the Moment of the Year Award for their glorious feat. Whereas the Indian Women's Hockey Team won the Breakthrough Performance of the Year honour for their inspiring fourth-place finish at the prestigious quadrennial Games.
Drag-flick specialists Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh, who were the architects of Indian Men's team's historic podium finish were the joint-winners of the Sportsman of the Year (Team Sports) category, while the Indian Women's team goalkeeper Savita was felicitated with the Sportswoman of the Year (Team Sports) award having played an instrumental role in the team's success.
"On behalf of the team, I would like to thank the Sportstar Aces for this honour and recognition. Our success in Tokyo could not have been possible without team work and it was not just the players who worked hard for the success, but it was a collective effort by many people that resulted in this achievement at the Olympics," Rupinder Pal Singh said.
Two-time Olympic bronze medalist and India's only World Cup-winning captain Ajit Pal Singh was bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Meanwhile, India's Paralympic athletes, who scripted history with their record medal tallies at the Paralympics last year had an eventful awards night. Rifle-shooting ace Avani Lekhara, who became the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals (gold in 10m air rifle and bronze in 50m rifle), was honoured with Parathlete of the Year (Female) award. Sumit Antil, who won gold in Javelin Throw, bagged the Parathlete of the Year (Male) Award. Whereas, Tokyo Paralympics champion (Para Badminton) Pramod Bhagat was accorded with a Special Recognition Award.
Supported by a fan poll, the jury for the awards consisted of Sunil Gavaskar, Aparna Popat, Anjali Bhagwat, Viswanathan Anand, Bhaichung Bhutia and MM Somaya, recognised sporting achievements in the 2021 calendar year.
Here's the full list of award winners:
Best University for the promotion of sports: Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology
Best PSU for Promotion of Sports: Indian Oil Corporation Ltd
Best Corporate for Promotion of Sports: JSW Group
Best State for the Promotion of Sports: Haryana
Breakthrough Performance of the Year: Indian Women's Hockey Team/Aditi Ashok
Best Grassroots Coach/ Talent Mentor: Uday Pawar
Young Athlete of the Year (Female): Esha Singh
Young Athlete of the Year (Male) - Nihal Sarin
Parathlete of the Year (Male): Sumit Antil
Parathlete of the Year (Female): Avani Lekhara
Sportsman of the Year (Cricket): Ravichandran Ashwin
Sportswoman of the Year (Cricket): Mithali Raj
Sportsman of the Year (Team Sports): Rupinder Pal Singh
Sportswoman of the Year (Team Sports): Savita
Sportsman of the Year (Individual Sports): Ravi Dahiya
Sportstar of the Year (Female): Mirabai Chanu
Sportswoman of the Year (Individual Sports): Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain
Sportswoman of the Year (Racquet Sports): PV Sindhu
Sportsman of the Year [Racquet Sports]: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty
Sports for Social Good (Chairperson's choice) - Reliance Foundation
Moment of the Year - Indian men's hockey team winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics
Club of the Year: Mumbai City FC
National team of the year: Indian men's hockey team
Special Recognition Award: Arif Mohd Khan
Special Recognition Award: Pramod Bhagat
Sportstar of the Year Male : Neeraj Chopra
Sportsman of the Year Track and Field - Neeraj Chopra
Sportswoman of the Year [Track and Field]: Kamalpreet Kaur
Coach of the Year: Vijay Sharma – Coach of Mirabai Chanu
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ajit Pal Singh