The Sportstar Aces Awards, which celebrates excellence in sports, was organised at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai recently. It was an endeavour to celebrate the stars, the future stars and the tireless silent partners who have dedicated their lives to sports.
Prakash Padukone was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award while Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah shared the Sportsman of the Year (cricket) Award.
As sports magazine Sportstar celebrated its 40th year, The Hindu Group Publishing re-launched the magazine's annual awards, which started in the mid-1990s, identifying and rewarding the most deserving athletes, some of whose tales of struggle, fierce dedication and selfless work weren’t known to many.
Sports personalities such as Viswanathan Anand, Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Agarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Baichung Bhutia, Gagan Narang, Anjali Bhagwat, Mithali Raj and Dutee Chand graced the occasion. Also present were Bollywood celebrities like Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Shashank Manohar, the ICC Chairman, and the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik. Odisha clinched the award for being the Best State for the Promotion of Sports.
Nasser Al Khater, Chief Executive Officer, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, was also present and invited Indians to the event.
The evening also saw a panel discussion, moderated by Gaurav Kalra, Group Editor (Sports), Network 18, on 'India's and Asia's emergence as a sports infrastructure and technology hub.' The participants were Khalid Al Naama, Media Head of Asia region for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar; Udit Sheth, Founder and Managing Director, TransStadia; Vasanth Bharadwaj, Co-Founder of Tenvic Sports and a former table tennis star; and Deep Mukherjee, Chief Executive Officer of the CII National Committee on Sports.
Sportstar Aces had three categories — Popular Awards, Jury Awards and Nominated Awards. This year’s jury was headed by Sunil Gavaskar, the panel members being M M Somaya, Anjali Bhagwat, Anju Bobby George and N. Ram, Chairman, The Hindu Group Publishing. The jury was also guided by fan votes as it picked the top sporting achievements in 2018.
Sportsman of the Year (Cricket): Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah.
Sportswoman of the Year (Cricket): Smriti Mandhana
Sportsman of the Year (Racquet sport): A. Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis)
Sportswoman of the Year (Racquet sport): P.V. Sindhu (Badminton) and Manika Batra (Table Tennis)
Sportsman of the Year (Track and Field): Neeraj Chopra (Javelin)
Sportswoman of the Year (Track and Field): Hima Das (Athletics)
Sportsman of the Year (Other team sport): Sunil Chhetri (Football)
Sportswoman of the Year (Other team sport): Gurjit Kaur (Hockey)
Sportsman of the Year (Other individual sport): Bajrang Punia (Wrestling)
Sportswoman of the Year (Other individual sport): Mary Kom (Boxing) and Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling)
Team of the Year: Vidarbha (Cricket - Ranji Trophy Team)
Coach of the Year: Massimo Costantini (Table Tennis)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Prakash Padukone
Best Young Athlete (Male): Saurav Chaudhury (Shooting)
Best Young Athlete (Female): Manu Bhaker (Shooting)
Parathlete Sportsman of the Year: Suyash Yadav (Swimming) and Manoj Sarkar (Badminton)
Parathlete Sportswoman of the Year: Deepa Malik (Track and Field)
Best State for Promotion of Sports: Odisha
Best University for the Promotion of Sports: Army Institute of Sports, Pune
Best PSU/Corporate House for the Promotion of Sports: Railway Sports Promotion Board
Chairman's Choice Award: Cheteshwar Pujara (Cricket)
Sportsman of the Year (Motorsport): K. P. Aravind