Indian opener KL Rahul has won the male sportsperson of the year award at the annual Sports Writers’ Association of Bangalore awards on Sunday. Former leg-spinner BS Chandrasekhar has been bestowed with lifetime achievement honour, while Bengaluru FC have won the team of the year award.
The function was graced by former India pacer Javagal Srinath as the chief guest, and former India opener and renowned sports psychologist Sujith Somasunder joined as the guest of honour.
Rahul has been in impressive form in 2016, scoring centuries in all three formats of the game, this year. He became only the third Indian player after Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma to score centuries in all formats of the game. Rahul also impressed for Royal Challengers Bangalore, scoring 397 runs in 14 matches at an average of 44.11 and a strike-rate of 144.49 and was instrumental in their journey to the final.
Rahul expressed his pleasure after getting the award and thanked all the scribes for making him from “a skinny Mangalore” boy to a star.
He said, “Thank you for finding me worthy enough of this award. It gives me immense satisfaction knowing that my hard work and performances over the year has been appreciated by you. You’re the guys who watched me as a skinny Mangalore boy who came into play in Bangalore around 11. You have been a real part of my journey, we’ve become real friends over the years, on and off the field. The friendships over the years have developed, and I hope that continues in the years to come,” reported Wisden India.
Remembering the incident when he had to receive the award for his senior statemate Robin Uthappa, Rahul funnily reminisced, “I remember a couple of years ago, I had to come up here and pick up this award for Robin Uthappa. I said the next time I come here would be when you give me an award … so if that’s why you’ve given me the award, I’m okay with it.”
“Rahul Dravid Test cricket, Rahul Dravid ODIs, Rahul Dravid T20 … all put together is KL Rahul,” he said, half tongue-in-cheek, to loud applause. “Many, many congratulations, and a long, long way to go as well.”
Former Indian legspinner BS Chandrasekhar, who picked up 242 wickets in 58 Tests between 1964 and 1979 and 1063 wickets in 246 first-class matches, was awarded the lifetime achievement award at the function.
Bengaluru FC, who reached the finals of the AFC Cup this year and have won two I-League titles in their short history, received the award for team of the year.
Olympian golfer Aditi Ashok won the best female sportsman of the year.
List of winners:
Male Sportsperson of the Year: KL Rahul
Female Sportsperson of the Year: Aditi Ashok
Lifetime Achievement Award: BS Chandrasekhar
Team of the Year: Bengaluru FC
Coach of the Year: Ashley Westwood
Junior Sportsperson of the Year (Female): Archana Kamath
Junior Sportsperson of the Year (Male): Niranjan Mukundan
Behind the Scenes’ Award: Kishore Khurrana, Gopalakrishnan
Best Association: United Karnataka Chess Association