Bangalore, Nov 16: Karnataka's sports achievers were honoured today by the Sports Writers Association of Bangalore (SWAB) with the state senior cricket team dominating the annual awards ceremony.
Karnataka cricket team won 3 awards, bagging "Sportsperson of the year (Male)", "Team of the Year" and "Coaches of the year" honours at the Karnataka State Billiards Association in Bangalore (KSBA) premises on Sunday (November 16).
Karnataka team won an unprecedented treble of Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2013-14 season. Robin Uthappa, who was part of the winning sides, took the "Sportsperson of the Year (Male)" award.
The R Vinay Kumar-led side bagged the "Team of the Year" award, and J Arun Kumar and Mansur Ali Khan, the batting and bowling coach respectively, were adjudged as the "Coaches of the year".
Talking about the secret of their success, Arun said, "It was always a talented side. It was just about instilling self-belief and winning games. All of them are willing to play for the country and that is an added bonus. That proved to be the X factor."
Mansur, who worked towards keeping the bowlers match fit for the entire season that lasted over five months, added: "From a cricketing aspect, it was about shifting the mindset of the bowlers from just taking wickets to winning games."
Uthappa had topped the batting charts in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (536 runs in 8 games) and in the 2014 Indian Premier League (IPL 7) (660 runs in 16 matches) for Kolkata Knight Riders.
KL Rahul, who was recently included in the Test team, collected the trophy on behalf of Uthappa, who is currently representing the Indian team in the 5th ODI against Sri Lank in Ranchi today. 12-time world champion cueist Pankaj Advani presented the award to Rahul.
Sharing the influence of Uthappa in the state dressing room, Rahul said, "He is one of the biggest motivator of the team. The way he has become disciplined and determined in the last two years pushes us harder."
Uthappa thanked SWAB for the recognition through a video message.
MR Poovamma, the sprinter, won the "Sportsperson of the Year (Female)" award for the second consecutive year. S Chikkarangappa and Aditi Ashok, both golfers, won the "Junior sportsperson award in the male and female category respectively. Poovamma, Chikkarangappa and Aditi could not attend the event because of prior commitments.
Elvera Britto, the legendary women's hockey player from the 1960s, received the lifetime achievement award from Arvind Savur, the ace cueist.
Gagan Narang, bronze medalist in the 10-metre air rifle shooting event in the 2012 London Olympics, was the chief guest for the occasion. He shared his view on the pressure created by the media on athletes, and urged the journalists to keep egging the sportspersons.
"It is not performances and competitions, but the gaze of the cameras that has put us under pressure. Juicy headlines sell, but at times the real stories get lost in the transition." he said. "A sportsperson needs grooming, mentoring and encouragement. They need encouragement from people like you (media). I know more often than not you back us up with your power of the pen. It is a humble request to keep egging us on."
He also spoke about the need for the fraternity to come together and drive corruption out of sport. "There is no place for corruption in sports. Sportspersons like us need to have our conscience clear while carrying the national flag," added Narang.
"The media can help immensely in the growth of our sports. If the media, sportspersons, government, private entrepreneurs work together with honesty then six medals in London can become 12 or more in Rio, and the Indian cricket team can win the World Cup once again in Australia next year."
Narang, KC Vijaya Kumar, SWAB's president, and Yogesh Garud, the secretary, unveiled the souvenir on the occasion.
- Sportsperson of the Year (Male): Robin Uthappa (Cricket)
- Sportsperson of the Year (Female): MR Poovamma (Athletics)
- Coaches of the Year: J Arun Kumar and Mansur Ali Khan (Cricket)
- Junior sportsperson of the Year (male): S Chikkarangappa (Golf)
- Junior sportsperson of the Year (female): Aditi Ashok (Golf)
- Behind the scene award: Raghuprasad (Hockey)
- Featured Association (2012): Karnataka State Billiards Association
- Featured Association (2013): Karnataka State Cricket Association
- Featured Association (2014): Karnataka Volleyball Association
- Lifetime achievement award: Elvera Britto (Hockey)
- Team of the year award: Karnataka State Cricket Association (Cricket)