Ekta Bhyan wins Sportstar Aces 2020 Sportswoman of the Year (Parasports)

Para-club throw athlete Ekta Bhyan claimed the Para-Sportswoman of the Year award at the Sportstar Aces Awards on Monday.

Ekta Bhyan was placed fourth at the recent World Para Athletics Championships, which helped her qualify for the 2020 Paralympics.

Not deterred by the accident that made her wheelchair-bound in 2003, Ekta Bhyan cleared the Haryana Civil Services exam. When the opportunity to learn a sport came her way, she grabbed it and made a mark for herself within a year of her induction.

Since then, Ekta has earned medals in Asian Games (gold, club throw), IPC Grand Prix series (gold, silver and bronze in club and discus throw) and national championships.

It is not surprising then that Ekta Bhyan is the only female para-athlete to earn a quota for India through her fourth place finish in club throw at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

Her disability category — F51 (quadriplegic with limited upper limb function) — has been assigned club throw for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

The Asian Games gold medallist was adjudged the Sportswoman of the Year (Parasports) at the recently concluded Sportstar Aces 2020 awards. The 34-year-old said the award will be a ‘huge motivation for the para-athletes’. “It feels like being treated on par with able-bodied athletes,” she said.

“I have grown up reading Sportstar magazine. They have brought sports so close to the common people. There are many memories attached to Sportstar magazine, I would read them regularly when I prepared for the civil services. Now that I am in sports, I feel so much more bonded to it,” Ekta said.

The Paralympic quota she sealed for India doesn’t guarantee a spot in Tokyo. A laborious selection trial awaits the para-athletes and Ekta is working hard to stay on top of her game.

“The preparations are going on. A lot of hardwork is going on. By June or July, we will be having a trial for Paralympics. I am currently ranked World No. 5 and working hard to be among the top athletes. I have another six months to prepare, so quite optimistic about my performance,” the athlete, who is mentored by Amit Saroha, said.

She is hoping to test waters at one of the Grand Prix events before the selection trials.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand, The Hindu Publishing Group chairman N. Ram, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat selected the deserving winners in categories involving young athletes, teams, coaches and parathletes.

The awards look to create a medium of knowledge and vision exchange as it brings all stakeholders of Indian sports under one roof.

You can watch the Sportstar Aces Awards telecast on Sony Ten 1 SD & HD on Sunday 26 January at 8 PM (IST).

1st Repeat : Monday 27 January at 6 PM, 2nd Repeat : Tuesday 28th January  at 7 PM

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