Neeraj, Ashwin, Avani headline Sportstar Aces Awards 2022

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra claimed the coveted ‘Sportstar of the Year (Male)’ award at the 2022 Sportstar Aces Awards held at The Taj Mahal Palace hotel here on Saturday.

Neeraj Chopra is the reigning Olympic javelin gold medallist.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra claimed the coveted ‘Sportstar of the Year (Male)’ award at the 2022 Sportstar Aces Awards held at The Taj Mahal Palace hotel here on Saturday.

Chopra, the reigning Olympic javelin throw champion, stated that his tryst with the sport started as a fitness routine. “We athletes will continue to work hard, and try to take our country to the top of the world,” Chopra said.

Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who claimed the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, received the ‘Sportstar of the Year (Female)’ award. Mirabai was unable to attend the event.

Lovlina Borgohain (Sportswoman of the Year, Individual Sports), Avani Lekhara (Parathlete of the Year, Female), Pramod Bhagat (Special

Recognition award), Savita (Sportswoman of the Year, Team Sports), and Rupinder Pal Singh (Sportsman of the Year, Team Sports) were some of the awardees present at the event.

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The jury panel was headed by legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar. Former India hockey captain M.M. Somaya, chess stalwart Viswanathan Anand, former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Aparna Popat were the other members of the jury.

Tennis star Leander Paes, Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, table tennis great Kamlesh Mehta, former international hockey player and Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh, former India cricketers Syed Kirmani, Mohammad Azharuddin, Diana Edulji, and Dilip Vengsarkar were some of the dignitaries present on the occasion.

“To receive this award in front of sportspersons I have admired is truly special. After my Olympics medal, this is the most special award for me,” Bhagat said.

Savita and Rupinder dedicated their awards to their teammates.

Mirabai Chanu wins Sportstar of the Year (Female) Award at Sportstar Aces 2022

Neeraj Chopra wins Sportsman of the Year (Track and Field) award at Sportstar Aces 2022  

Former Indian hockey team captain Ajit Pal Singh was conferred the ‘Lifetime Achievement award. Ajit was part of two Olympic bronze-winning teams, including one at the 1972 Munich Games. “Leander’s father Vece and I shared the same room at the 1972 Munich Olympics. There was an ugly and scary incident (the terror attack at the Games), but luckily we were not affected,” Ajit, 74, said.

“The Aces Awards celebrate the spirit of excellence in sport and hope to inspire our athletes and sportspersons to continue to strive to break new records and reach new pinnacles of glory. We also hope to inspire millions of fans who have invested heavily in the dream of India as a major sporting power,” Malini Parthasarathy, Chairperson, The Hindu Group, said.

“It is wonderful to see our champions here tonight. Their efforts have brought great joy to the nation when everything seemed lost due to the pandemic. We are all proud of you,” Ayon Sengupta, Editor, Sportstar, said.

The awards were presented by Byju’s Classes, with IDFC First Bank as the Associate Partner.

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