Best sportspersons award for Bajrang Punia, Rani Rampal, Rishabh Pant, Manu Bhaker

The three sports stars receive the Delhi Sports Journalists Association award from IOA president Narinder Dhruv Batra on Thursday.

Asian Games gold medal winning wrestler Bajrang Punia, hockey star Rani Rampal, Test cricketer Rishabh Pant and pistol shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker were presented the Delhi Sports Journalists Association (DSJA) Best Sportspersons awards at a function here on Thursday. The awards were given by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Dhruv Batra.

“It is very inspiring when sports journalists give such awards,” said Punia, adding that the DSJA award would inspire him to work harder in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Pant said, “I can never forget how many Delhi sports journalists encouraged me from my early days.” He spoke of how the media has been supporting junior cricketers for a very long time.

‘Focussed on doing well for India’

Rani Rampal, who was permitted to take a day off from the National Camp in Bengaluru, was delighted to receive the Best Sportswoman award. “We are focussed on doing well for India and such awards keep us going in right direction,” she said. The award for Bhaker, who is representing India in the Asian Air Gun Championship in Chinese Taipei, was received by her father.

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Batra, who was a special invitee, said recognition of their efforts gave the athletes immense satisfaction and motivation to do better. “What the DSJA is doing is very much in line with that belief. And who can be a better jury than the sports journalists themselves who write, report and chronicle up and coming and elite athletes every day,” he said.

The function was attended by a galaxy of sportspersons, with IOC Member Randhir Singh, hockey Olympians Harbinder Singh and Zafar Iqbal, trap shooter Morad Ali Khan and JK Tyre’s Motor Sports Head Sanjay Sharma presenting the awards.

The list of winners
  • Best Sportsman: Bajrang Punia (Wrestling) and Rishabh Pant (Cricket).
  • Best Sportswoman: Rani Rampal (Hockey) and Manu Bhaker (Shooting).
  • Lifetime achievement: Karnam Malleswari (Weightlifting) and Raj Singh (Wrestling).
  • Best Coach: Jaspal Rana (Shooting) and Tarak Sinha (Cricket).
  • Special Awards: Abhishek Verma (Archery), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Diksha Dagar (Golf), Gaurav Gill (Motor Sports), Meenakshi Pahuja (Channel Swimming) and Seema Yadav (Amateur marathon running).

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