Hockey

Teen shooting sensation Manu Bhaker wins BBC’s Emerging Player of the Year award

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India’s teen shooting sensation Manu Bhaker has been honored with the BBC’s Emerging Player of the Year award. English cricketer Ben Stokes announced the award at the virtual ceremony.

While addressing the ceremony, Bhaker said:

“It feels like my hard work has been recognised. It feels like people know about my hard work now.”

The 19-year-old girl from Haryana has also secured the Olympic berth in the 10m Air Pistol shooting event. Manu Bhaker has won many medals at the ISSF World Cups in the past few years.

The air pistol shooter, who is currently ranked second in the world, was bestowed with the Arjuna award in 2020. While the Tokyo Olympics will mark her debut at the mega-quadrennial Games, she represented India at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Manu Bhaker has shattered a number of world records of her senior competitors. Her consistent performances have brought her into the spotlight. The 2018 Commonwealth Games champion is a potential Olympic medalist for India at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Meanwhile, the BBC Lifetime Achievement award was given out to former Olympian Anju Bobby George. Anju happens to be the first and only Indian to win a medal at the IAAF World Athletics Championship.

Grandmaster Koneru Humpy won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year award. The other nominees for this award were Manu Bhaker (shooter), Dutee Chand (sprinter), Rani Rampal (hockey player), and Vinesh Phogat (wrestler).

The BBC India started the BBC Sportswoman of the Year award in 2020. PV Sindhu (badminton player) was the first recipient of the Sportswoman of the Year award. The BBC Lifetime Achievement award was given to legendary Indian athlete P.T. Usha last year.

The BBC inaugurated the award on International Women’s Day to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the field of sports. The process of online voting is used to decide the winner.

The Emerging Player of the Year award, which went to Manu Bhaker, was a new addition to this year’s BBC awards.

Bhaker will next be competing in the ISSF Shooting World Cup in New Delhi later this month. Manu Bhaker’s individual, as well as her mixed team performances with Saurabh Chaudhary, are likely to attract a lot of attention at the World Cup. They will also be teaming up at the Mixed 10m Air pistol event at the Tokyo Olympics, which is a brand new event in shooting.

Published 09 Mar 2021, 19:58 IST

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