New Delhi, Mar 28: Asian Games gold medalist wrestler Bajrang Punia, Hockey star Rani Rampal, Test cricketer Rishabh Pant and Pistol shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker were presented with the Delhi Sports Journalists Association Best Sportspersons awards by the Indian Olympic Association President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra at a function here on Thursday.
Both Bajrang Punia and cricketer Rishabh Pant were awarded with the best sportsman of the year trophies, while Rani Rampal (Hockey) and Manu Bhaker (Shooting) were presented with Best Sportswoman award.
Indian free style wrestler Bajrang Punia also sought blessings of people and hoped that he would come out with flying colours in the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 Olympic Games.
“It is very inspiring when sports journalists give such awards,” said Bajrang Punia.
''I will give my best for the upcoming Olympics and i also urge people to keep blessing me. Whenever, we are invited in such functions we realise that we have to work more harder. DSJA award would inspire me to work harder in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,'' the wrestler added.
The world championships silver-medallist, who had a spectacular 2018 season in which he won gold medals at Commonwealth Games, Asian Games also thanked DSJA for organising such a function.
Delhi Capitals wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant while praising the sports journalist said, “I can never forget how many Delhi sports journalists encouraged me from my early days.”
Rishabh also spoke about how the media has been supporting junior cricketers, and praising their results for a very long time.
Rani Rampal, who was permitted to take a day off from the National Camp in Bengaluru, was delighted to receive the Best Sportswoman award.
“We are focused on doing well for India and such awards keep us going in the right direction,” she said.
The award for Manu Bhaker, who is representing India in the Asian Air Gun Championship in Chinese Taipei, was received by her father.
The first Indian woman who won a medal at the Olympics Karnam Malleswari (Weightlifting) and Dronacharya Award winning wrestler Raj Singh were awarded with the Lifetime achievement award, while Jaspal Rana (Shooting) and Tarak Sinha (Cricket) were awarded with the best coach award.
Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, who was the Special Invitee, said recognition of their efforts gives the athletes immense satisfaction and motivation to do better.
“What the DSJA is doing here today is very much in line with that belief. And who can be a better jury than the sports journalists themselves who write, report and chronicle up budding and elite athletes every day,” he said.
The function was attended by a galaxy of sportspersons, with Honorary IOC Member Raja Randhir Singh, hockey Olympians Harbinder Singh and Zafar Iqbal, trap shooter Moraad Ali Khan and JK Tyre’s Motor Sports Head Sanjay Sharma presenting the awards to the award winners.
Special Awards were given to Abhishek Verma (Archery), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Diksha Dagar (Golf), Gaurav Gill (Motor Sports), Meenakshi Pahuja (Channel Swimming) and Dr Seema Yadav (Amateur marathon running). (UNI)