HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Golfer Shiva Ram Shrestha and Tara Devi Pun won the Pulsar Sports Award Player of the Year (PoY) organised by the Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF), while volleyball completed a hat-trick of Popular PoY with Ramila Tandukar taking the honour here today.
Olympian Bhupendra Silwal took the Lifetime Achievement award, while cricketer Prithu Baskota was declared the Youth PoY and his coach Jagat Tamatta won the best coach honour. Shot-put player Sharmila Lamichhane was recognised with the Para-athlete PoY and Nepal Weightlifting Association (NWA) President Ratan Tandon was given Special award for his more than a decade-long contribution in sports, especially at the Mid-western Region.
Shiva Ram — who topped the Order of Merit in 2011-12 season — said it was great feeling to win the award. “I was nominated in the category thrice on previous occassions and winning the award finally this year is really great,” said the Nepal No 1 golfer.
Shiva Ram won seven of the 11 Surya Nepal Tour events during 2011-12 season that earned him a total Rs 909,600. The Royal Nepal Golf Club pro also finished third in the prestigious Surya Nepal Masters. Other nominees in the category were cricketer Paras Khadka, swimmer Shailesh Rana, athlete Tilak Ram Tharu and equestrian Dhruba Prasad Aryal.
Nepal Police Club (NPC) lifter Tara Devi won gold medal in the first South Asian Weightlifting Championships in Nepalgunj. She also set a national record in the 69kg clean & jerk with a total of lift of 157kg in the sixth National Games.
Tara Devi said the award was the result of her hard work. “The award will inspire me to do even better in future,” said the NPC lifter. Tara Devi got the better of swimmer Shreya Dhital, shuttler Nangsal Devi Tamang, table tennis player Nabita Shrestha and sprinter Pramila Rijal.
Ramila won the Popular PoY — declared through SMS voting — ahead of Bharat Khawas of football, Shakti Gauchan of cricket, Sabita Chaudhary of athletics and Aslesha Lissanevitch of tennis. Ramila earned 44,245 votes to beat Bharat (38,958) and Shakti (24,186). Manju Gurung and Shipora Gurung were the spikers to win the previous two editions. THT Live 3131 was the official voting partner.
Prithu helped Nepal qualify for the ICC U-19 World Cup after leading his country to a runner-up finish in the ICC U-19 World Qualifier in Ireland. He was an integral part of the Nepal APF team that won the National One-day Tournament and sixth National Games gold. He won the award ahead of swimmer Shirish Gurung, athletes Bishwo Rupa Budha and Siddhanta Adhikari and cricketer Rubina Chhetri.
Cricket bagged the second award when Tamatta was recognised as the best coach. It was under Tamatta that Nepal qualified for the sixth U-19 World Cup. Tamatta said: “It feels like a dream come true for me. I have won something that I had wanted to win since 1998.”
Para-athlete Sharmila, 21, was honoured for her remarkable achievement of winning shot-put gold during the 2011 Special Olympics held in Athens. Lifetime Achievement Award winner Silwal is one of the first Nepali Olympians who participated in the 1964 Tokyo Games,. He also competed in the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo.
Special award winner Tandon, 66, is a businessman by profession but is known in Nepalgunj for his long association with sports. He has been repeatedly pouring millions of rupees in organising local and international tournaments in Mid-western Region including the fourth National Games and the first South Asian Weightlifting Championships in Nepalgunj. Tandon has served as a member of National Sports Council and Nepal Olympic Committee once.
The Male, Female and Popular PoY award winners received Pular motorcycles, while Youth PoY, Coach of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Special and Para-athlete of the Year earned Rs 30,000 along with gift hampers.
The two-hour ceremony was made colourful by ramp walk from players, stand up comedy from actor Deepak Raj Giri and solo performance from singer Indira Joshi.