Sportstar Aces Awards: Best Young Athlete (Girls) nominees

Explore the performance of our nominees Manu Bhaker, Jemimah Rodrigues, and Nitu.

Clockwise (from left): Nitu, Jemimah Rodrigues and Manu Bhaker.   -  Getty Images

MANU BHAKER

AGE: 16

Manu Bhaker first tasted success at the international level when she won a silver medal at the 2017 Asian Junior Championships. At the 61st National Shooting Championships in Thiruvananthapuram in 2017, she won nine gold medals and defeated multiple World Cup medalist Heena Sidhu in the 10m air pistol. She broke Sidhu's record of 240.8 points, scoring 242.3 in the final.

At the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup held at Guadalajara, Mexico, Bhaker won the gold medal in the 10m air pistol. At 16, she became the youngest Indian to win a gold medal at the World Cup. She also won a mixed team gold in the 10m air pistol category with Om Prakash Mitharval.

At the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Bhaker shot 240.9 in the 10m air pistol to win the gold medal and shattered the games record.

At the 2018 Asian Games, she shot a record-breaking 593 in the qualification round of the 25m air pistol event. But she failed to win a medal there, finishing sixth in the final. Chosen as India’s flag-bearer at the 2018 Youth Olympics, she lived up to expectations with a gold medal in the 10m air pistol event.

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Manu Bhaker poses with the gold medal after winning the women's 10m air pistol competition at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on April 8, 2018.   -  PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images

 

Manu Bhaker in 2018

  • Won the 10m air pistol gold and mixed team gold at the ISSF World Cup at Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Set a new Commonwealth Games record while winning gold in the 10m air pistol
  • Won gold at the Youth Olympics in the 10m air pistol

 

JEMIMAH RODRIGUES

AGE: 18

When she was 12-and-a-half-years old, Jemimah Rodrigues was first selected in the Mumbai Under-19 girls’ team. At the same time, she was on the verge of breaking into the U-17 hockey team.

Jemimah was handed over the captaincy of the state’s U-19 cricket team in 2016. The aggressive opening batter continued her surge in 2017, scoring 178 against Gujarat and following it up with a 202 versus Saurashtra in the U-19 zonal tournament in Aurangabad. She accumulated 1,013 runs in 10 innings at an average of 112.56 in the tournament, collecting six centuries and one half-century.

The effort catapulted her into the India A set-up. She impressed in the big league and made her international debut during India’s tour of South Africa in early 2018. Though she didn’t get to play in the ODIs, she performed beyond expectations in the T20Is and helped India complete a 3-1 series win. She was the team's third-highest run-getter with 87 at a strike rate of 122.53.

In the T20I series against Sri Lanka, her first full series, Jemimah scored 191 runs in four innings at an average of 63.66 and a strike rate of 155.28.

In her first World T20 match, against New Zealand, she a scored 45-ball 59, taking the honours of being the youngest to get a fifty in the tournament. She collected 125 runs in five innings and was named one of the standout performers for India by the ICC.

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Jemimah Rodrigues was handed over the captaincy of Mumbai U-19 cricket team in 2016.   -  Getty Images

 

ODIs

Mat

Inns

Runs

Ave

HS

SR

100s

50s

4

4

45

11.25

42

83.33

0

0

 

T20Is

Mat

Inns

Runs

Ave

HS

SR

100s

50s

19

15

461

32.92

59

129.13

0

4

 

NITU

AGE: 18

From Dhanana village in Haryana, Nitu, a childhood friend of Sakshi Choudhary, followed her friend to the Jagdish Singh-led Bhiwani Boxing Club before making her mark by winning medals at youth-level competitions in 2016 and 2017.

A gifted boxer, Nitu progressed fast to win gold medals at the Balkan Youth International Boxing Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Women's Youth World Boxing Championships in Guwahati.

Nitu, who got a word of appreciation from six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist M. C. Mary Kom, improved further in 2018. The southpaw claimed the national youth crown in Rohtak, the Asian youth title in Bangkok and world youth gold medal in Budapest in the 48kg weight category.

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Nitu (right) and Zhazira Urakbayeva of Kazakhstan compete in the women's light fly weight final at the AIBA Youth Women's World Boxing Championships in Guwahati on November 26, 2017.   -  BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images

 

Nitu in 2018

  • Won a gold medal at the AIBA Women’s Youth Boxing Championships, Hungary
  • Gold at the Asian Youth Championships, Bangkok
  • Gold at the Youth Women Nationals, Rohtak