Female athletes dominate nominations for Peoples’ Choice Award

रेडियो दर्पण संवाददाता

Kathmandu, December 21

Female athletes have dominated the nominations for the Peoples’ Choice Award under the annual NSJF Pulsar Sports Award 2076 unveiled on Friday in Kathmandu.

Of the five nominees, four are female players including swimming sensation Gaurika Singh, national volleyball team captain Aruna Shahi, football star Sabitra Bhandari and basketball captain Sadina Shrestha. The 13th South Asian Games (SAG) twin gold medalist karateka Manday Kaji Shrestha is the only male player to make it to the list.

The winner among them will be selected on the basis of votes received through digital payment gateway eSewa, Facebook likes, votes received from organiser Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) members and chief coaches of sports associations. The winners will be announced during the award ceremony to take place semi-virtually on January 12 at the Satdobato Karate hall. The voting line will be open until January 11 midnight.

According to the NSJF, the players were selected on the basis of their performance and popularity in the past Nepali calendar year (2076 BS). The players were picked by NSJF Players Selection Committee coordinated by its secretary Gobinda Regmi.

Swimmer Singh stole the show during SAG last year when she claimed four gold medals. The teenager achieved top finishes in 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle besides podium finish in 200m backstroke. While all other nominees were present during the nomination programme, the swimmer who lives in London with her parents did not attend the function.

Shahi led the women’s volleyball team that secured a silver medal in the SAG.Volleyball was one of the few team games that gained wide public fame. It was the first occasion that Nepali volleyball team had made it to the final of the sub-continental event. But they lost in the decisive clash despite taking a two-set lead. She also played an influential role as captain when the women’s team claimed their first ever international trophy during AVC Central Zone Volleyball in Bangladesh.

Sadina Shrestha was the captain of the national basketball team who led the team to a silver medal in the SAG. While many big achievements went unnoticed during SAG under the spark of gold, Shrestha grabbed the limelight despite her team losing the gold medal clash.

National team star striker Sabitra Bhandari has been in the limelight for the past few years. She is known for her dribbling skills, speed and strength. Apart from her fame in the country, she also grabbed headlines in India when she became the highest scorer of the Indian league in the last season when she played for Gokulam Kerala FC. She also scored decisive goal in the final. In the 2018/19 season too, she played an influential role in Sethu FC’s run to title in the same tournament.

The martial art player Manday Kaji Shrestha secured two gold medals on the opening day of the 13th SAG including in the team and individual kata. He became the first Nepali player to win double gold at the same edition of the Games. He had also grabbed team kata gold in South Asian Championship in Dhaka and silver in Thailand Open.

The NSJF will award a team and individuals in 10 different categories including male, female, youth and coach of the year. Other categories are para-athlete, people’s choice, lifetime achievement, special and team of the year and Asian Sports Journalists award. The award for the journalist will be presented as per the recommendation by the AIPS-Asia, federation of Asian sports journalists, and a selection committee headed by NSJF secretary Gobinda Regmi will pick the nominees for other categories.

Lifetime achievement award will be presented to a sportsperson for his/her long-term contribution towards sports and the special award will be presented for special achievement and contribution to sports.

NSJF will announce five nominees each in male, female, coach, youth, peoples’ choice and special award categories while the winners of lifetime, para-athlete, team of the year and international journalists will be directly revealed during the award function.

NSJF ropes in eSewa as partner for award

NSJF has enrolled eSewa as its co-sponsor and voting partner of the Sports Award for two years. The agreement with the eSewa means fans would be able to vote from all around the globe.

“We are proud to be associated with the most prestigious sports award of the country. Though we were involved in the sports sector in the past as ticketing partners for many sports events, this is our direct involvement as co-sponsor and voting partner. We hope the association will motivate players,” said Roshan Lamichhane after signing the memorandum of understanding with NSJF.