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BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year nominees revealed

BBC News has announced the five shortlisted nominees of this year’s BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year award in a virtual press conference in Delhi.


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"I look forward to seeing people participate around the world in deciding this year’s ISWOTY winner, by voting for the best female sports star who has been a game-changer during these uncertain times."

“I look forward to seeing people participate around the world in deciding this year’s ISWOTY winner, by voting for the best female sports star who has been a game-changer during these uncertain times.” — Rupa Jha

These nominees are compiled by a jury of eminent sports journalists, experts, and BBC editors. Voting is now open and the public can vote for their favourite Indian sportswoman of the year on BBC Indian Language service platforms and on the BBC Sport website (voting links below).

The five nominees are:

  • Dutee Chand - Sport: Athletics
  • Koneru Humpy - Sport: Chess
  • Manu Bhaker - Sport: Shooting
  • Rani - Sport: Hockey
  • Vinesh Phogat - Sport: Wrestling

Rupa Jha, Head of BBC Indian language services says: “I look forward to seeing people participate around the world in deciding this year’s ISWOTY winner, by voting for the best female sports star who has been a gamechanger during these uncertain times.”

Indu Shekhar Sinha, Head of BBC Business Development, Asia Pacific says: “I am delighted we are all set to celebrate the second year of this prestigious award and through the Sports Hackathon and Indian Changemaker series we aim to enhance the online presence of talented and emerging women in sport.”

The nominees have given their reaction to being shortlisted:

Dutee Chand says: “I am happy to get another chance of being nominated for the BBC award again this year. It’s great to see that now there is an increased awareness about sports amongst people in India. So many players are making a name for themselves, earning money and making their country proud.”

Manu Bhaker says: “It definitely means a lot to me because this appreciation is coming from my own people. People appreciate my performance and recognize my hard work, which matters to me a lot.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart.”

Koneru Humpy says: “More than winning the award, getting nominated is a success for me.  I think in sports it’s more important to compete rather than think about winning or losing, that too, in this pandemic. BBC ISWOTY will give us the opportunity to be joyful and celebrate with other sportspersons and people worldwide.”

Rani says: “It’s very encouraging to see that women athletes are being recognised for their achievements.  I request all women to take up at least one game as it will help in your physical and mental well-being.”

Vinesh Phogat says: "Looking down upon wrestling, people in my village used to question, ’What are you making the girls do?’. But now when a girl is born, they say it’s not a problem, we will make her a wrestler and they do it in reality.  Through our medals, we have brought this change and if we are able to bring a difference in the life of girls, it’s no less than a medal for me.”

Voting information

The public can vote online for free on BBC NewsBBC HindiBBC MarathiBBC GujaratiBBC PunjabiBBC TamilBBC Telugu.

Voting closes worldwide on Wednesday 24 February at 11.30pm IST or 6pm GMT.

The winner of BBC ISWOTY will be announced on 8th March in a virtual awards ceremony, along with the winners of the Lifetime Achievement award and the Emerging Player award.

BBC Sports Hackathon (Thursday 18 February)

The BBC has also announced that it will host a Sports Hackathon where more than 300 Wikipedia entries of 50 Indian sportswomen will be added, either new or built upon, in English and six Indian languages.  Journalism students from 13 institutes across Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, will participate in the BBC hackathon.

As a taste of what’s to come, para-badminton star Manasi Joshi’s Wikipedia profile and her sporting journey have already had extra detail added to them in English and a new entry created in Hindi.  This was showcased at the press conference Manasi Joshi_English, Manasi Joshi_Hindi

On 18 February, the Sports Hackathon will be made available live on BBC Indian Language services’ social media platforms.

The Indian Changemakers

This special series captures the journey of five inspiring Indian sportswomen from different states who have overcome various hurdles to emerge as true changemakers in their own right.


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