The inaugural RP-SG Indian Sports Honours was held on Saturday, 11 November 2017, at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai. The event was a spectacular affair, where India’s top performers in the sporting arena in the period from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017 were recognised and rewarded for their achievements. The event was graced by members of India’s sporting fraternity, luminaries from Bollywood and top Corporates. What made the Indian Sports Honours unique was that the winners were chosen by the key stakeholders of Indian Sport –the sports media, the fans and the sportspersons themselves.
The event was the brainchild of Virat Kohli, India’s Cricket Captain, and Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group and it was conceptualised by Cornerstone Sport. A total of nineteen Honours were presented at the event.
The Main Honours section comprised ten categories. The Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) shortlisted the nominees in each category, based on their performances in the period under consideration. The winners in each of the ten categories were picked by a panel chaired by Mr. Sanjiv Goenka and Mr. P. Gopichand. The jury comprised legendary athlete P.T. Usha, Shooting stalwart Anjali Bhagwat, Tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi and Hockey maestro Arjun Halappa. P.V. Sindhu, who did India proud with a Silver Medal at the Rio Olympics, won the Sportswoman of the Year Honour (Individual Sport). Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner extraordinaire, was the deserving recipient of the Sportsman of the Year Honour (Team Sport).
Star Sports, the exclusive Broadcast Partner for the Indian Sports Honours, was associated with the Six ‘Popular Choice’ Honours that were presented at the event. The winners were elected by members of the sports-loving public, who vote on Facebook. The sportspersons who received the maximum number of votes in each category were declared the winners. Among the notable winners of the ‘Popular Choice’ Honours were Hardik Pandya, who won the Breakthrough Performance of the Year Honour for his sensational 76 against Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Yogeshwar Dutt won the Spirit of Sport Honour.
The Jury of sporting greats also paid a tribute to stalwarts who battled adversity through their careers and came to be hailed as icons. Balbir Singh (Sr), one of the pivotal members of India’s Hockey sides that won the Gold at the Olympics in 1948, 1952 and 1956, received the Keep Walking Honour for Lifetime Achievement. Sania Mirza, the pride of India, was the winner of the Inspirational Honour.
Apart from saluting the glorious past and present of Indian Sport, the promising future was also spotlighted at the event. Seven young sportspersons were inducted into the Virat Kohli Foundation’s Athlete Development Programme. The VKF will support and assist the athletes in their training and preparation for tournaments for three years from January 2018 to December 2020. The inductees comprise the following: Sumit Nagal (Tennis), Karman Kaur Thandi (Tennis), Divya Dhayal (Archery), Shivani Kataria (Swimming), Swastika Ghosh (Table Tennis), Aadil Bedi (Golf) and Aryamann Tandon (Badminton).
Apart from the sporting stalwarts, the RP-SG Indian Sports Honours were graced by Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Anushka Sharma and Farah Khan, to name just a few. The event was hosted by Malaika Arora and Riteish Deshmukh.
The complete list of Honours presented at the event is as follows.
(Couldn’t attend as he was abroad)
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