Former India coach Anil Kumble is in contention for the Coach of the Year award in the inaugural edition of the Indian Sports Honours, established by the RP-SG Group in association with the Virat Kohli foundation.
Kumble took an abrupt exit as India coach after disputes with Kohli, is competing with Bisheshwar Nandi (Gymnastics), Balwan Singh (Kabaddi), Harendra Singh (Hockey) and Vijay Davecha (Golf) for the award.
The contenders were announced on Wednesday and the winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in Mumbai on November 11. There are eight categories including sportsman of the year which has various cricketers such as Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin and Hardik Pandya competing against each other.
They will fight it out with Kabbadi player Pardeep Narwal, Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri and hockey star Rupinder Pal Singh as well. The jury is headed by former all-England champion and chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, along with multiple Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi, legendary sprinter PT Usha, former world number one shooter Anjali Bhagwat and former India hockey captain Arjun Halappa.
Terming this an “authentic” sports award, Bhupathi said: “Having an award at the end of a season not only inspires youth but recognizes the past players. It’s exciting to have an authentic sports award in the country. I don’t think we have one. It will definitely create an aspiration to achieve more.”
The eight categories also include sportswoman of the year award in the team sport where Indian hockey stars Deepika Thakur, Rani Rampal and cricketers Deepti Sharma, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur are competing for honors.
The finalists for the sportswoman of the year award in individual sport are Olympic silver and bronze medalist duo of PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar, athlete Lalita Babar and tennis star Sania Mirza.
For the male category in the individual sport, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, cue sports ace Pankaj Advani, golfer SSP Chawrasia, and in-form shuttler Kidambi Srikanth are the finalists in the race for the best sportsperson of the year award.
The other categories are Emerging Sportswoman of the year Aditi Ashok (Golf), Ritu Phogat (Wrestling), Smriti Mandhana (Cricket); and Emerging sportsman of the year Harmanpreet Singh (Hockey), Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Ramkumar Ramanathan (Tennis), Sameer Verma (Badminton) and Vidit Santosh Gujarathi (Chess).