Lifetime achievement award winner, PT Usha
NEW DELHI: BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2019 has been awarded to the Indian badminton star PV Sindhu. The winner of is voted for by fans all over the world, picked out of five contestants nominated by an eminent jury.
After the win, the 24 year old badminton player said: “I want to thank BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year team. I am really happy to have this award. I would also like to thank BBC India for such a great initiative and all my fans out there”.
PV Sindhu has a total of five World Championship medals to her name. She is also the first Indian singles badminton player to win an Olympic silver medal. Sindhu entered into the top 20 of the BWF World rankings in September 2012 at the age of just 17. She has remained in the top 10 throughout the last four years. With her ace smashes and dynamic play, Indian fans have high hopes from her at the Tokyo Olympics.
BBC Director General, Tony Hall hosted the awards ceremony. He said: “Huge congratulations to P V Sindhu for winning the award.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to the veteran athlete, PT Usha, for her contribution to Indian sport and for inspiring generations of players.
"We did not have any facilities when I started my career. I used to train alongside railway tracks and on beaches as there were no training spaces then,’’said PT Usha after receiving the award.
She added, ‘’Things have changed a lot since then and I am very happy that BBC has taken this initiative, it will motivate the new generation to come into sports.’’
Overcoming great odds, P T Usha went on to win over 100 international medals and awards throughout her career. The Indian Olympics Association also named her the Best Sportswoman of the Century. She narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal at the 1984 Los Angeles games finishing fourth in the women’s 400m hurdles, losing the bronze medal by one-hundredth of a second.
The BBC award ceremony was held in Delhi in the presence of eminent sports personalities, sports writers, journalists and dignitaries.
The Sports Minister Mr Kiran Rijiju who was the guest of honour expressed his delight, ‘’I am very excited that BBC has organised this award. Achievement must be celebrated and awards are a way to recognise this. India has not been able to build a sporting culture. We are going to change that. We want to make India a sports powerhouse. We must build sports as a career and make sure our athletes are well taken care of. That is why we have introduced schemes like lifetime pensions for sportspersons who have won medals for India. ’’
The five nominations announced in February 2020 consisted of sprinter Dutee Chand, boxer Mary Kom, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, para badminton player Manasi Joshi and P V Sindhu.