The Sportstar Aces Awards are back for a fifth chapter, seeking to honour incredible performances in sports across various disciplines.
Among the many Popular Choice honours open to public voting is the coveted Sportstar of the Year (Female) award and the nominee list is packed with super achievers from across the spectrum of sport.
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Harmanpreet Kaur (Cricket), Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting), Nikhat Zareen (Boxing), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), Avani Lekhara (Shooting) are nominated for the honour.
Here are their achievements in 2022:
Harmanpreet Kaur had a successful 2022 with the bat. The Indian skipper made 387 runs in 17 T20Is at an average of 35.18. Harmanpreet led India to a seventh Women’s Asia Cup title with a win over Sri Lanka and also helmed the team’s silver-medal winning campaign at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. She was equally impressive in the 50-over format, in which her standout performance came against England in the second ODI in September. She struck an unbeaten 143, the highest by an Indian captain in women’s ODIs. Her score is also the third-highest individual score for India in this format. Harmanpreet now has five ODI hundreds - the joint second-most by a batter for India Women.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu gave her best in some elite events even as she took care to stay fit. Mirabai, 28, got back to her peak at the right time to total 201kg - a kg less than her Olympics showing a year ago - and win her second successive gold in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. It was the third Commonwealth Games medal in a row for Mirabai, who landed a silver in 2014. Mirabai bagged her maiden National Games gold in Gandhinagar and a World Championships silver (which was her second Worlds medal after her gold in 2017) in Bogota in spite of a wrist injury.
On May 19 2022, when Nikhat Zareen won the gold medal in the 52kg category at the Women’s World Championship in Istanbul, she became only the fifth Indian boxer and the first since Mary Kom in 2018 to win a world title. She was also the first apart from Mary Kom to win a title outside India. Zareen would follow up her gold at Turkey with another at the Commonwealth Games, where she became only the third woman boxer from India to place on top of the podium.
When Vinesh Phogat pinned Chamodya Maduravalage Don at Birmingham in the women’s 53kg event at the Commonwealth Games, she became the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal at three successive events at the Games. She would make more history a month later at the 2022 Wrestling World Championships in Belgrade, winning a bronze medal in the women’s 53kg event. In doing so, she became the first Indian woman to win multiple medal at the Wrestling World Championships, adding to the bronze she had won in 2019.
Avani Lekhara, 21 - the para shooter from Jaipur had won the air rifle gold and rifle 3-position bronze in the Tokyo Paralympics. She continues to excel in shooting with an aim to better her performance in the Paris Paralympics. In 2022, she won the air rifle gold with a world record score of 250.6 and the 50m rifle 3-position gold in the Para World Cup in Chateauroux, France. Avani also won a silver medal in air rifle in the Para World Cup in Changwon, South Korea.