World rapid chess champion Koneru Humpy has won the BBC Indian Sportswoman-of-the-Year award, according to a media release on Tuesday.
“This award is very precious, not only to me but the entire chess fraternity. Being an indoor game, chess doesn’t get as much attention as sports like cricket in India,” Humpy said from Vijayawada. “But, with this award, I hope, the game will draw people’s attention.”
“I think I could win over the years because of willpower and confidence. A woman player should never think about quitting the game. Marriage and motherhood are part of life and should not change the course of our lives,” Humpy said.
BBC director-general Tim Davie, hosting the virtual awards ceremony, said: “Huge congratulations to Koneru Humpy for winning this year’s BBC ISWOTY award. She has made a fantastic contribution to chess and this accolade is well deserved.”
The Lifetime Achievement award went to veteran athlete Anju Bobby George.
“I have been blessed throughout my fulfilling journey. Without the constant support of my parents and my husband I wouldn’t have been where I am today, they’ve always stood by my side,” Anju said.
Ben Stokes announced young shooter Manu Bhaker winner of the Emerging Player-of-the-Year award, a category added this year.
Bhaker, aged 16 won two golds at the ISSF World Cup in 2018, followed by gold at the Youth Olympics and a Commonwealth Games gold with a record to boot.
“This award means a lot to me. It feels like my hard work has been recognised and people know about it now.
“Being awarded by Anju Bobby George, this year’s Lifetime Achievement winner truly feels like the emerging talent is being promoted,” said Manu Bhaker.