Sportstar Aces Awards: Manu Bhaker wins Best Young Athlete

After winning gold medals at the senior and junior World Cups and the Commonwealth Games, the 16- year-old won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

Manu Bhaker receives Sportstar Aces award from Anjali Bhagwat in Best Young Athelete (Girls) category.   -  Vivek Bendre

Manu Bhaker was adjudged the Best Young Athlete in the girls category of the Sportstar Aces Awards supported by Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, in association with MRF held at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on Thursday.

Bhaker first tasted success at the international level when she won the silver medal at the 2017 Asian Junior Championships. At the 2017 national games in Kerala, she won nine gold medals and defeated multiple World Cup medalist Heena Sidhu and broke Sidhu's record of 240.8 points, scoring 242.3 points 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 event. 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.

Recap: Sportstar Aces Awards

Bhaker scored 388/400 points at 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 10m air pistol qualifying round and then secured the gold medal with setting a new Games record of 240.9 points.

At 2018 Asian Games, she scored a Games' record score of 593 in the qualification round of the 25m air pistol event.

Chosen as India’s flag-bearer at the 2018 Youth Olympics, Bhaker justified the expectations with a gold medal in her favourite 10m air pistol event event. A score of 236.5 in the final helped her become the first female athlete from India to grab a gold medal at the Youth Olympics.

Former India cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar, The Hindu Publishing Group chairman N. Ram, former India hockey captain M.M. Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian long-jumper Anju Bobby George selected the deserving winners in categories involving young athletes, teams, coaches and parathletes.

The Aces Awards are an effort to highlight the untold stories of struggle, fierce dedication and selfless work behind an athlete’s ascension, irrespective of the popularity of the sport.

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