Saurabh Chaudhary wins ‘Sportsperson of the Year Award 2019 (Male)’
- Both Sindhu and Saurabh win two awards each with Sindhu’s World badminton Championship winning ‘Moment of the year Award 2019’ and Chaudhary’s partnership with Manu Bhaker in Shooting winning the duo ‘Team of the Year Award 2019’
- Inaugural ‘Courage Award’ conferred to Dutee Chand
- Awards honour the best talents across the sporting spectrum
- Winners across 10 categories were selected by an independent 16-member jury panel including renowned sports personalities and ESPN’s editorial team
ESPN, the one-stop destination for all things sports, today, announced the winners of its Third Annual Multi-Sport Awards 2019, recognizing achievements across various sports disciplines in 2019.
PV Sindhu, who became the first Indian player to win the World Badminton Championship title, bags the 'Sportsperson of the Year – Female Award 2019' to complete a hat trick of such titles since inception. Saurabh Chaudhary, wins the 'Sportsperson of the year – Male Award 2019'. Saurabh won a total of five World Cup gold medals -- two in the men's 10m air pistol and another three in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the ISSF World Cup 2019. He also won a 10m air pistol bronze medal at the World Cup in Rio.
For all the victories Dutee Chand has won on the track, it's easy to miss her success off it. She fought the world athletics governing body - the IAAF’s discriminatory hypoandrogenism regulations, and earned her right to race again. In 2019, she became the first Indian athlete to come out and talk about being in a relationship with a female friend. A seemingly simple act, speaking out, could have had immense ramifications in the conservative world of Indian sport and society at large was to draw praise from the international sporting community and cast her firmly as the one Indian sporting star choosing to live on her own terms. She was named as the first winner of the ESPN India Courage Award for these very reasons, for being inspirational both on the field and off it. Soon after she came out, Duttee told ESPN, "Sach kehne mein kyun darna? (Why should I be afraid to speak the truth?)".
Koneru Humpy wins the award for the 'Comeback of the Year.' She claimed her first World title in December 2019 by winning the Women's World Rapid Chess Championships in Moscow to cap a remarkable comeback to the sport. The former junior world champion had taken a two-year maternity sabbatical between 2016 and 2018 to look after her newborn daughter.
Wrestler Deepak Punia’s gold in the world junior championship, silver in the world senior championship, and earning a qualification for the Tokyo Olympics made him a natural choice for the coveted ESPN's 'Emerging Sportsperson of the Year Award 2019.’
Pullela Gopichand, Chief National Badminton Coach, claims the 'Coach of the Year' Award, following up from nurturing two Olympic medalists in Saina and Sindhu. Under his tutelage, India was to find its first badminton world champion in August 2019.
PV Sindhu’s World Championship win, the first by an Indian in badminton, has also been selected as the ‘Moment of the Year Award 2019’.
Manu Bhaker-Saurabh Chaudhary grab the 'Team of the Year Award.' The 10m air pistol mixed team combination completed their clean sweep at 2019 World Cups.
30-year-old Manasi Joshi wins 'Differently-abled athlete of the year/Para-athlete of the year Award.' Joshi became world champion after winning the gold medal at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships in 2019.
Balbir Singh (Senior), one of independent India's most celebrated Olympians, has been conferred with ESPN's 'Lifetime Achievement' Award 2019. Singh played a starring role in the national hockey team's triple golds in London 1948, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956. He also worked with the national team as coach at the 1971 World Cup and as a manager in Kuala Lumpur four years later, when India won their only World Cup title to date.
Commenting on the occasion, Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo and ESPN South Asia, said, "This is an exciting time for Indian sport. The headline news of 2019 was PV Sindhu winning the world championship and taking another step to being called India’s greatest ever badminton player but the trend right through the year was the unprecedented and consistent success of India’s shooters, many in their teens or early 20s, who won medals across the world. And there was the bravery of Dutee Chand, to honour whom we created a new award for inspiring beyond the field of play. As we head into an Olympic year, there’s a lot to look forward to."
ESPN Multi-Sport Awards recognized achievements across 10 categories. An independent jury comprising eminent people in the Indian sports fraternity such as Chetan Baboor, Harendra Singh, Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat, Rahul Bose, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, Nisha Millet, Anju Bobby George, Jwala Gutta, Shaji Prabhakaran, Harsha Bhogle along with ESPN.in's senior editors selected the winners.