Tokyo Olympic Games silver-medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu has bagged the 2022 ‘BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year’ award after a public vote.
The 28-year-old weightlifter from Manipur became the first athlete to win the award twice in a row after bagging it in 2021 as well.
At the Tokyo Games, she had become the first Indian to win a silver in the sport. Last year, she went on to secure gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She also won a silver medal at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2022. ”I am really excited and want to say that I will be working even harder for the forthcoming games and win more medals for India,” said Chanu.
The other short-listed contenders for the award were wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, boxer Nikhat Zareen and badminton player PV Sindhu.
Table tennis player Bhavina Patel won the ‘BBC Para Sportswoman of the Year’ award, a category introduced this year.
She won a silver at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, becoming the first Indian paddler to achieve the feat. Bhavina also won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
”It is indeed a gratifying feeling to win this prestigious award which is part of a wonderful initiative empowering women and sportspersons. It is also commendable to see BBC focusing on para sports and making India more inclusive,” said Bhavina.
Former captain of the Indian women’s hockey team Pritam Siwach was conferred with the ‘BBC Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her contribution to Indian sports and inspiring generations of players.
Siwach was the first woman hockey coach to be given the Dronacharya Award, the highest national award for coaches.
”This award has been conferred upon eminent sportswomen in the past three years. I was very happy to know that this year, I will be getting the award. The specialty of this award is that it is given to women. It motivates us when we get such awards,” said Siwach.
Boxer Nitu Ghanghas was chosen as the ‘BBC Emerging Player of the Year’. She is a two-time youth world champion and Commonwealth Games medallist. She won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the minimum weight category.
The women’s lawn bowls team of Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey, Pinki and Nayanmoni Saikia, which won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games — India’s first-ever medal in the sport — was given the ‘BBC Changemaker of the Year Award’.
BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year Award was launched in 2019 to celebrate sportswomen in India who have made their mark on the world stage.