Bengaluru: KL Rahul, Aditi Ashok and Bengaluru Football Club walked away with top honours at the ACT-Sports Writers' Association of Bangalore (SWAB) awards on Sunday (December 4).
The jury also presented the lifetime achievement award to Karnataka stalwart BS Chandrasekhar, who picked up 242 Test wickets with his legspin in a 15-year international career.
The glittering ceremony at Le Meridien was held amidst a gathering of over 100 journalists across print, electronic and web media from the state. The occasion was also graced by many present and former sportsmen, head of state associations and families of players nominated across various categories.
"It wasn't so much the logistics, but the question of when to hold this event was the most challenging," said Manuja Veerappa, the SWAB president during the welcome address.
"We wanted as many of the winners to be present at the event. These awards sum up our work as sports journalists."
The two-hour long event that began with a minute's silence for the passing away of Jayaprakash Bathineni, the sports editor of Sakshi News, also included talks from Aparna Popat, the former national badminton champion, Sujith Somasundar, the former Karnataka opener who is now a renowned sports psychologist, and Javagal Srinath, the former India fast bowler, who was also the chief guest of the event.
"Sujith being nominated as a trainee at MRF pace foundation motivated me to become a fast bowler," Srinath joked to have the audience in splits.
"Journalism these days has evolved. It's a tough job, much more challenging than we think it is. With new media outlets coming up and evolution of technology, the challenges today are much more. Just how these awards have evolved is an example."
Chandrasekhar thanked the SWAB committee for finding him worthy of the award. "They have been doing a fine job in recognising upcoming talent and stalwarts in the past," he said.
"I hope they continue doing the same going forward. My best wishes not just to the winners but also to all the nominees. I'm a firm believer that participation is more important than winning."
Rahul enjoyed a breakthrough season - he became a regular opener across formats for India and had a splendid Indian Premier League season for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Aditi, the 18-year old golfer, represented India at the Rio Olympics earlier this year apart from winning amateur and professional tournaments over the last 12 months.
Bengaluru FC, who won two I-League titles and reached the final of the AFC Cup in Doha last month, pipped Royal Challengers to be awarded the Team of the Year.
Their former manager Ashley Westwood was recognised for his efforts in guiding the club that came into existence in 2013. He was named 'Coach of the Year.'
Archana Kamath, the paddler, won the Junior Sportsperson of the Year (female), while para-swimmer Niranjan Mukundan who won 10 medals, including seven golds, at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Junior Games in Netherlands, won the corresponding award in the male category.
Kishore Khurrana, a referee with KSBA, and Gopalakrishnan were awarded the 'Behind the scenes' award for their contribution towards Billiards and Basketball respectively, while the United Karnataka Chess Association was named the best association.
Full list of SWAB Award winners
Male Sportsperson of the Year (Senior): KL Rahul (Cricket)
Female Sportsperson of the Year (Senior): Aditi Ashok (Golf)
Lifetime Achievement Award: BS Chandrasekhar (Cricket)
Team of the Year: Bengaluru FC (Football)
Coach of the Year: Ashley Westwood, Bengaluru FC (Football)
Sportsperson of the Year (Male) (Junior): Niranjan Mukundan (Para swimmer)
Sportsperson of the Year (Female) (Junior): Archana Kamath (Table Tennis)
"Behind the Scenes" Award: Kishore Khurrana (Cue sports), Gopalakrishnan (Basketball)
Best Association: United Karnataka Chess Association