Winners of the NSJF Pulsar Sports Awards at the international sports complex, Lalitpur.
By Prajwol Oli
KATHMANDU, Jan. 16, 2021: Karate player Manday Kaji Shrestha and swimmer Gaurika Singh won the highest sports accolade at the annual NSJF Pulsar Sports Award held at the international sports complex in Satdobato, Lalitpur, on January 12. Shrestha won the male player of the year while teenage swimmer Singh won the award in the female player category.
Karateka Shrestha had secured twin gold medals in the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) held last year from December 1 to 10, making him the frontrunner for the male player of the year award.
"It is like a dream come true to win a prize in the biggest award ceremony of the country that carries significance of national award. I would like to thank the organisers for the ceremony and motivating players for their effort," the 36-year-old said after winning the award.
He finished ahead of four other nominees—golfer Subash Tamang, athlete Gopi Chandra Parki, footballer Bikesh Kuthu and taekwondo's Kamal Shrestha.
Swimmer Gaurika Singh who won the female player of the year award had secured four gold medals, two silver and three bronze at the 13th SAG. She achieved top finishes in 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle besides podium finish in 200m backstroke.
"I thank NSJF for honoring me with this award," said Singh in a live video message from London.
Taekwondo's double gold medal winner Ayasha Shakya, karate's Anu Adhikari, athlete Santoshi Shrestha and triathlete Soni Gurung were the other nominees in the category. All of them had won at least one gold each in the SAG.
Volleyball captain Aruna Shahi won the peoples' choice award beating swimmer Singh, basketball star Sadina Shrestha, footballer Sabitra Bhandari and karateka Shrestha.
The people's choice award was decided on the basis of eSewa votes, Facebook likes and points allocated by sports journalists and chief coaches of sports associations.
"The Sports Award is a great platform for us. I thank everyone for supporting me in the vote," said Shahi, dedicating her award to Nepal Volleyball Association, her team members and coaches.
Teenage golfer Subash Tamang won the youth player of the year award. The 18-year-old, whose journey in sports started as a ball boy, had won the men's individual and team event gold at the SAG.
He had also won the Surya Nepal Golf Championship despite playing as an amateur.
Tamang was nominated along with weightlifter Sanju Chaudhary, judoka Punam Shrestha, taekwondo's Sina Limbu Maden and Bhupen Shrestha.
Nabin Shrestha won the coach of the year award for his impressive SAG exploits that included record 12 gold medals, six silver and 11 bronze medals.
"The credit of achievement in the SAG goes to fellow coaches, hardworking players and taekwondo family," said Shrestha.
Team and Special Award
National women's volleyball teams were honored with the 'Team of the year' award. The women's team had secured historic gold in the AVC Central Zone Women's Volleyball Championship last year. Apart from that, the national game of the country had also won silver in the SAG.
Taekwondo player Ayasha Shakya and athlete Santoshi Shrestha were revealed as the winners of the 'Special Award' for their special achievements in the SAG.
Shakya, who claimed two gold medals on the opening day of the SAG, was the first female player to win two golds at the South Asian sports spectacle. The mother of two secured top finishes in the individual and pair poomsae category of taekwondo and has been active as a player for one and a half-decade.
"I had not expected to win the award and after winning it I feel special," said Shakya. "I want to dedicate the award to all mothers who dare to dream."
The other special award winner Shrestha was honoured for setting a new record in Nepali athletics by securing a middle distance gold for the first time, which he had won by ten milliseconds.
Shrestha who won the 10,000m race is the first non-departmental player to win South Asian Gold besides legendary runner Baikuntha Manandhar.
Former table tennis players Gita Chhetri and Sijerin Shah were honored with lifetime achievement awards.
The duo had won team event gold in the 1991 Colombo SAG. It was the first occasion that any Nepali female athlete had won gold in SAG.
The duo retired from active playing after 1995. Shah, who represents the golden generation of Nepali tennis players, has won eight international medals and Chhetri six.
Youth and Sports minister Dawa Tamang, Member Secretary of National Sports Council Ramesh Silwal, Managing Director of Hansaraj Hulaschand and Golcha Pvt Ltd Shekhar Golcha and other dignitaries distributed award to the winners of different categories.
Pulsar Sports Awards