Chikte: Competition among goalkeepers is always helpful

The Indian goalkeeper was talking on the sidelines of the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) Golden Jubilee annual awards 2017 held at the Bombay Gymkhana.

Hockey goalkeeper Akash Chikte (right) shared the 'Best Sportsman of the Year' award with Nashik-based chess Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi at the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) Golden Jubilee annual awards 2017.   -  Vivek Bendre

Akash Chikte, the national men's team's custodian, named the ‘best goalkeeper’ at the Asia Cup hockey championship, feels it is too early to talk about the change under new coach Sjoerd Marijne. Chikte played a vital role in India’s victory in the Dhaka tournament, including the final against Malaysia. “Seniors in the side are asked for inputs more now than in the past. Training is decided on the basis of suggestions from players like captain Manpreet Singh, S. V. Sunil and Rupinderpal Singh,” he said.

Chikte, 24, was responding to a question on differences, if any, in the team’s outlook after Marijne took over from Roelant Oltmans, who was the chief coach for major tournaments, including the Rio Olympics. The Asia Cup win under the new coach was the highlight of an unbeaten run in Dhaka, which also included a draw against South Korea and wins over Pakistan. Pune-based Chikte and Mumbai youngster Suraj Karkera, both employed with BEG, shared goalkeeping duties.

Chikte looked forward to the return of Sreejesh into the national camp, following his recovery from injury. “Competition among goalkeepers is always helpful. Suraj and I supported each other. Sreejesh has always been supportive and played a big part in our development,” said Chikte, talking on the sidelines of the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) Golden Jubilee annual awards 2017 held at the Bombay Gymkhana.

He shared the 'Best Sportsman of the Year' award with Nashik-based chess Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi. Vinod Tawde, Maharashtra's Minister for Sports, Youth Welfare and Education, gave away the awards along with former India cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar, noted chess coach Raghunandan Gokhale, chess Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay, ex-national table tennis coach Kamlesh Mehta, ex-international paddler Monalisa Mehta and ex-Mumbai Ranji cricket coach Praveen Amre.

The list of award winners (with category)

Sportsman of the Year: Vidit Gujrathi (chess, Nashik) and Akash Chikte (hockey, Pune).

Sportswoman of the Year: Aditi Dhumatkar (swimming, Mumbai).

Junior Sportsman of the Year: Abhimanyu Puranik (chess, Pune).

Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Ryna Saldhana (swimming, Mumbai) and Diya Chitale (table tennis, Mumbai).

Sportsman of the Year (Indian Games): Prashant More (carrom, Mumbai).

Cricketer of the Year: Kedar Jadhav (Pune).

Ranji Trophy Player of the Year: Abhishek Nayar (Mumbai).

Woman Cricketer of the Year: (Smriti Mandhana, Sangli).

Junior Cricketer of the Year: Prithvi Shaw (Mumbai).

Team of the Year: Mumbai Indians.

Special Team performance of the Year: Mumbai City FC.