KATHMANDU, JANUARY 12
The 13th South Asian Games double gold medallist karateka Manday Kaji Shrestha and four gold medal winning swimmer Gaurika Singh won the Player of the Year awards under the Pulsar Sports Award here at the International Sports Complex today.
Karateka Shrestha was named the PoY (male) ahead of golfer Subash Tamang, athlete Gopi Chandra Parki, taekwondo player Kamal Shrestha and footballer Bikesh Kuthu.
He had bagged gold medals in individual and team kata events in the regional meet held on home soil in December 2019. Golfer Tamang is also a double gold medallist of the SA Games, while athlete Parki, taekwondo player Shrestha and footballer Kuthu won a gold each in their respective disciplines.
Likewise, swimmer Singh won record four golds on her way to claiming nine medals in the SA Games. She was nominated in the PoY (female) category along with double gold medal winner taekwondo player Ayasha Shakya and gold medallists karateka Anu Adhikari, athlete Santoshi Shrestha and triathlon athlete Soni Gurung.
Golfer Tamang bagged the youth category award ahead of SA Games gold medallists Bhupen Shrestha and Sina Limbu Maden (taekwondo), Poonam Shrestha (judo) and Sanju Chaudhary (weightlifting).
Tamang had won gold medals in individual and team events on the way to handing historic success for the country in the regional meet.
Taekwondo coach Nabin Kumar Shrestha was named the best coach of the year after he led the team to 12 gold medals in the 13th SA Games.
Shrestha was in race for the award with Amar Kumar Thing (wushu), Madan Upreti (karate), Prakash Thapa Maga (boxing) and Shankar Karki (swimming).
Karate had produced 10 gold medals in SA Games, while wushu had claimed five.
Swimming and boxing had earned four and three gold medals in the regional meet.
National volleyball team skipper Aruna Shahi claimed the people’s choice award with 37.5 per cent votes. Karateka Manday Kaji Shrestha came second with 28.4 per cent, while national basketball team captain Sadina Shrestha was third with 13.4 per cent votes.
Swimmer Gaurika Singh and national football team striker Sabitra Bhandari were also in nomination for the award. Shahi had led the women’s volleyball team to the historic silver medal in the SA Games a month after bringing home maiden international gold medal — AVC Central Zone Women’s Volleyball Tournament — from Bangladesh.
Taekwondo player Ayasha Shakya and athlete Santoshi Shrestha received the Special Awards. Shakya had bagged two gold medals in the 13th SA Games, while Shrestha became the first Nepali athlete to win gold medal in the regional sporting extravaganza when she finished first in 10,000m race at the Dasharath Stadium.
Table Tennis legends Sijarin Shah and Geeta Chhetry were honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The duo had claimed team event gold medal in the fifth South Asian Federation Games in Colombo in 1991. The gold medal was the first won by female Nepali athletes in the regional meet and it is still the lone gold medal won by table tennis.
While Shah bagged a total of eight medals in the regional meet, Chhetry claimed six.
Also, para-cricket team skipper Digam Singh Chemjong was felicitated with the Para-Athelte Award. Chemjong, who also plays table tennis and basketball, is the first Nepali athlete to play professional para-cricket for Karachi Eagles. He starred in the Asian Wheelchair Cricket Tournament held on home soil last year while he won silver medal in the Para-Table Tennis Tournament in Pokhara.
Likewise, national women’s volleyball team was named the Team of the Year for its historic silver medal in the SA Games, whereas Malaysian sports journalist Ahmed Khawari Isa was honoured with the Asian Sports Journalist Award.
The 17th edition of the Award — organised annually with the theme of Appreciating Achievements, Honouring Heroes — featured 10 categories.
The winners in four categories — male, female, coach and people’s choice —received Pulsar motorcycle each, while others got Rs 50,000 apiece along with gift hampers from Dish Home and Kelme. Hansraj Hulaschand and Company was the main sponsor of the event, while Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd, Dish Media Network Limited, Royal Singi Hotel, Turkish Airlines, Kelme Nepal, Ruslan Football, Emaging, Hotel Crown Plaza, eSewa, Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Sports Council and Nepal Olympic Committee were the co-sponsors and partners.