By: Shubham Ghosh
India’s Olympic medal-winning weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has bagged the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year Award 2022, the news outlet has informed.
The 28-year-old from north-eastern state of Manipur, who has also medals at various international events including the World Championships, Asia Championships and Commonwealth Games, became the first person to get the honour twice.
Addressing the award ceremony in Delhi through a video conference, Chanu said she was really excited by the honour and would work even harder for the forthcoming Olympic Games and win more medals for her country.
Chanu won the silver medal at the 49-kilogram category at the 2021 Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan.
Among other sportspersons who were shortlisted for the honour were wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, badminton player PV Sindhu and boxer Nikhat Zareen.
Table-tennis player Bhavina Patel was named the Para Sportswoman of the Year, a category which was introduced for the first time. The 36-year-old from Gujarat won a silver at the 2021 Paralympic Games and gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“It is a gratifying feeling to win this prestigious award, which is part of a wonderful initiative empowering women and sportspersons,” she was quoted by the BBC as saying.
“It is also commendable to see the BBC focusing on Para-sport and making India more inclusive.”
Former India hockey player and coach Pritam Siwach received the Lifetime Achievement award for making contributions to Indian sports and inspiring a new generation of players.
Boxer Nitu Ghanghas was chosen as the Emerging Athlete of the Year while 95-year-old Bhagwani Devi and 106-year-old Rambai received Changemaker of the Year awards.
India’s lawn bowls team, which won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games last year, was honoured with a special trophy for their historic achievement.
The BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year was started in 2019 to honour the best sportswomen in India and highlight the issues and challenges that sportswomen face there.