Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes — wrestler Bajrang Punia and shooter Elavenil Valarivan — bagged the top honours at the FICCI India Sports Awards 2020 held virtually this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two athletes, who have had an impressive 2019-20 season, won the Sportsperson of the Year awards in their respective categories.
Freestyle wrestler Bajrang, who is currently training in the USA, expressed his delight at receiving the award.
“My aim in the future will again be to give my best and win lots of medals for the country. Such recognitions motivate me to keep doing well, and it gives me huge joy. I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the other winners,” Bajrang said.
Elavenil said, “I would like to thank my family first for always standing by me, my mentor Gagan Narang and my coach Neha Chauhan for always believing in me.
“I would also like to thank the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for always supporting and pushing us through all our hard times, and also the Sports Authority of India for making sure that we are equipped with everything we need.”
Wrestling Federation of India and Paralympic Committee of India were jointly named as the best national sports federation, while the best para-athlete award was won jointly by Sundar Singh Gurjar and Simran Sharma.
The coach of the year award was bagged by Radhakrishnan Nair of athletics.
The sports awards are an attempt by industry body, FICCI to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results throughout the year.
Anil Kumble received the ‘Best Company Promoting Sports (Private Sector)’ award on behalf of his enterprise — Tenvic Sports.