KATHMANDU, July 4: Professional golfer Shiva Ram Shrestha and weightlifter Tara Devi Pun bagged the Player of the Year award in male and female categories respectively during the Pulsar Sports Award 2068 organized by the Nepal Sports Journalists Forum in the capital on Wednesday.
Nepal No 1 pro golfer Shrestha beat competition from national cricket captain Paras Khadka, South Asian Beach Games gold medalist Dhruba Prasad Aryal, Shailesh Rana who had claimed 10 gold medals in swimming during the Sixth National Games and Tilakram Tharu, who had clinched four gold medals during the Sixth National Games.
Shrestha became the highest earning Nepali player in the calendar year 2068 BS as he won seven of the 11 events in the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2011/12. The 2011 and 2012 editions of Surya Masters fell in the same Nepali calendar year 2068 and Shrestha claimed bronze medals on both the occasions. Surya Masters is a prestigious international golf event, which is also included in the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
Winners of various categories--Banskota, Shrestha, Tamata, Tandon, Silwal, Tandukar, Pun and Lamichhane (from left to right)--pose for a group photo. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Likewise, Shrestha had finished in the second position among the foreigners in the Qualifying School of PGTI 2012 and earned a full card.
"I was nominated twice before in the Pulsar Sports Award but I´m happy to win the trophy this time," said Shrestha. He thanked his coach Aaron Bergman, Nepal Professional Golfers Association and Nepal Golf Association General Sectray Tashi Ghale for his achievements.
Shekhar Golchha, the managing director of Hansraj Hulaschand and Company, the chief sponsor of the award function, handed over the award to Shrestha. During the award ceremony, Golchha said Nepali political leaders should learn from sports personalities as players symbolize national unity.
In the female section, weightlifter Pun won the award finishing ahead of swimmer Shreya Dhital, who had won eight gold medals at the Sixth National Games as well as Pramila Rijal (athletics), Nabita Shrestha (table tennis) and Nangsal Devi Tamang (badminton). Rijal, Shrestha and Tamang had clinched four gold medals each at the Sixth National Games.
Pun had set a national record in women´s 69 kg weight category during the Sixth National Games and won the title of the strongest women. She had claimed gold in the First South Asian Weightlifting Championship held in Nepalgunj. She had also won gold medal in the Open Weightlifting Grand Prix.
"I feel my hard work has paid off. I am happy to win this award. I think this award is for the whole Nepal Police Club," said Pun, who is associated with the club. She dedicated the award to her mother in Myagdi and thanked her coaches for her success.
Meanwhile, volleyball player Ramila Tandukar won the Popular Player of the Year award, which was decided through SMS voting. Tandukar received 44,245 of the total 123,652 votes. Her nearest rival, national football team forward Bharat Khawas got 38,958 votes. Cricketer Shakti Gauchan finished third garnering 24,186 votes.
Athlete Sabita Chaudhary and tennis star Aslesha Lissanevitch were the other nominees in the category.
Tandukar was nominated in the popular player category after her excellent performance in domestic tournaments. Tandukar had won the best player award twice in the Dhorpatan Women´s Double League Volleyball Tournament and also won several best performer awards in other domestic tournaments.
"I want to thank all the people who voted for me. This award has added responsibility on my shoulders and I´ll try to give my best for the country in future as well," said Tandukar.
Winners Shrestha, Pun and Tandukar received a Pulsar Motorbike each along with a Samsung camera, a carpet from New Horizon Carpet Pvt Ltd, a Dish Home smart box and other gift hampers.
Nepali U-19 cricket team captain Prithu Baskota won the Youth Player of the Year award. Swimmer Shirish Gurung, cricketer Rubina Chhetri, and athletes Siddhanta Adhikari and Bishwarupa Budha were the other nominees in the category.
Baskota was the captain of the Nepali U-19 cricket team that qualified for the ICC U-19 World Cup finishing second in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers held in Ireland. Baskota had scored 155 runs and taken 9 wickets during the qualifying tournament. His three-wicket haul in the last over of the match against Kuwait had helped Nepal reach the ACC T20 Cup semifinals. He had also scored 83 runs and taken two wickets in the ICC World T20 Qualifiers. He was also a member of the Nepal APF Club, which won the National One-Day Tournament and clinched gold in the Sixth National Games.
Likewise, Nepali U-19 cricket team coach Jagat Tamata was adjudged coach of the year. He guided the Nepali U-19 team to second position in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers. He is only the second Nepali coach to guide Nepali youth cricketers to the World Cup.
National cricket team coach Pubudu Dassanayake and Nepali women´s U-19 cricket team coach Nabin Singh, judo coach Bir Bahadur Rana and swimming coach Ishwar Karki were the other nominees for the award.
Winner Baskota and Tamata received the winner´s trophy and Rs 30,000 each. They were also awarded with a Samsung camera, Dish Home smart box and a carpet from New Horizon carpet Pvt Ltd each. Meanwhile, all the nominees received trophies, a Timex sports watch each as well as gift vouchers and T-shirts from John Players.
Lamichhane wins Para-athlete award
Sharmila Lamichhane won the Para-Athlete of the Year award for 2068 BS. Lamichhane, 21, from Bharatpur, Chitwan had claimed gold medal in the shot put event at the Special Olympics held in Athens, Greece from June 25 to July 4, 2011. Likewise, she had finished fourth in the 100m race at the Special Olympics.
Lamichhane, who is mentally challenged, has been studying in Narayani Higher Secondary School.
Player of the Year (Male) Shrestha and Player of the Year (Female) Pun. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Popular Player of the Year and Players of the Year (Male and Female) with their Pulsar bikes awarded as prize.
Players on ramp.
Volleyball player Sipora Gurung performs on the function.