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26 Feb, 2018
ESPN India for the first time launching the ESPN.in Awards 2017 with the help of 14 members - 10 cited sportspersons and four journalists - to select the contenders, nominees and the final winners.
To recognise the best individual and team performances in the Indian sport on a calendar-year basis, the jury will go across 11 categories covering the diversity in sports fraternity; the traditional and the modern.
The differently abled athletes also would get the recognition, who have won countless medals for the nation and on the verge of a breakthrough.
The winners will be decided by the jury members that includes the biggest names in the Indian sports fraternity: Abhinav Bindra, the only Indian to have won an individual Olympic gold; Bhaichung Bhutia, the best Indian football player of his generation; Anju Bobby George, the first Indian to win a medal at the Athletics World Championships; Rohit Brijnath, who has covered Indian sport at all levels for the past three decades; and ESPN's senior writer Sharda Ugra.
From badminton, Aparna Popat will be joining the jury, who is the well recognised commentator today.
Aparna was a forebear for the Indian women badminton, who was a silver medallist at the World Junior Championships. She won nine Nationals till her retirement in 2006. Her career best rank was world no.16 and won a silver medal in the women's singles at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and bronze medals in Manchester and Melbourne.
Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief, ESPN South Asia, said “It is an exciting time in Indian sport, with rising active consumption of multi-sport disciplines across the country.”
The awards aim to increase the visibility and conversations around sports beyond cricket. The awards recognise individuals' and teams' performances and are also an acknowledgement of the widening perspective of Indian sports fans,” he added.
The most successful emerging players, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Lakshya Sen, are among the nominees of the ‘Emerging Player of the year Award’, while H. S. Prannoy will be in combat for ‘Comeback of the year Award’.
The other categories will be made public every day, one category per day.
The winners will be announced on April 2, two days before the Commonwealth Games begin in Australia.