Karnataka cricket team wins SWAB award again

Bengaluru, Nov 21: The Karnataka senior cricket team won the Team of the Year award for the 2nd consecutive year at the 2015 Sports Writers Association of Bangalore's (SWAB) annual awards ceremony held at the Atria Hotel in Bangalore on Friday (November 20).

Led by R Vinay Kumar, Karnataka successfully defended a rare treble of Vijay Hazare Trophy, Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup in the 2014-15 season.

File photo of Karnataka players celebrating with the Ranji Trophy

"Winning this award for back-to-back years means a lot to us. I would like to thank each and everyone who has supported us from the scratch," Vinay said.

"The past two years have been golden years for us and credit goes to each and every member of the team, the support staff and special thanks to KSCA. Whatever we have needed Brijesh (Patel) sir and all officials have provided us with everything."

J Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan, Karnataka's batting and bowling coaches respectively, won the Coach of the Year award.

Crediting the players for the success, Arunkumar said: "It's because of the dedication of the boys. Once in a while complacency sets into the team, but the boys are matured enough to realise when the team needs what and deliver accordingly."

Arinban Lahiri, the golfer, won the Sportsperson of the Year award in the male category, while Ashwini Ponnappa, the shuttler, bagged the trophy in the female category.

Lahiri won the Malaysian Open in February 2015, apart from clinching the Indian Open and the Macau Open. He finished 49th at the 2015 Masters Tournament, one of the four majors, and is currently the No.1 for the 2015 season on the Asian Tour.

Ponnappa, meanwhile, won the doubles silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Canada Open title along with Jwala Gutta.

Both Lahiri and Ponnappa delivered their acceptance speech through a video message.

Nisha Millet, the ace swimmer, thanked the media for covering the issue of drug abuse in sport, while Anup Sridhar stressed on the need to professionalise badminton in India.

"I am happy the way media is covering the issue of drug abuse in sports. That needs to be highlighted not to shame any athlete who are tested positive, but to really scare the daylight of all the youngsters coming up to know that health is everything," Millet said. "All of us want to win, but it has to be in the right way."

V Baskaran, captain of the Indian hockey team that won the Gold Medal in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and an eminent coach, was the chief guest for the occasion and heaped praise on the sporting culture of Bangalore.

"Bangalore (journalists) had enough write ups on me, and it was a stepping-stone for me when I played for Rest of India," Baskaran said.

"Bangalore is one of the best cities for sports in the world. It has good sports culture with good coverage of local leagues, good parents, and I have seen many elders play on the street. I was born here and have learnt many things from the city, which has helped me lead a complete life. If you don't have a journalist supporting, then we are nothing at all."

R Kaushik, SWAB's president, underlined the healthy working relationship that sports journalists and sportsperson in Bangalore have shared over the years and how the fraternity's bonding has remained unaffected despite the changing times.

"Given the mushrooming of sports journalists and increasingly higher stakes in the world of competitive sport, it is almost inevitable there is a climate of weariness between the two parties," Kaushik said.

"We are the bridge between fans and you (athlete), and it can easily lead to strained relationships, if not mistrust. But, the bonds have been formed on the basis of tremendous understanding and respect for each other. While our paths are different, the goals are pretty much the same."

List of SWAB award winners

Junior sportsperson of the year (male): Arjun Maini (Motorsport)

Junior sportsperson of the year (female): Archana Kamath (Table Tennis)

Behind the scenes: B Suresh (Badminton)

Featured Association: Karnataka Swimming Association

Sportsperson of the year (male): Anirban Lahiri (Golf)

Sportsperson of the year (female): Ashwini Ponnappa (Badminton)

Coach of the year: J Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan (Cricket)

Lifetime achievement: Isaiah Arumainayagam (Football)

Team of the year: Karnataka cricket team (senior)

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