Cricket rules nominations in Sports AwardParas Khadka, Sompal Kami and coach Jagat Tamatta carry the cricket baton in the prestigious award
Cricket dominated the nominations in Pulsar Sports Award as the Nepal Sports Journalists Forum unveiled five players in each of the four categories on Tuesday.
National cricket team captain Paras Khadka and allrounder Sompal Kami were nominated in the male player of the year category for the July 2 award in Kathmandu. Women’s cricket team allrounder Sita Rana Magar was nominated in the female player of the year, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi for the youth player of the year and Tamatta for coach of the year award. Teenage prodigy Sandeep Lamichhane had already been nominated for the peoples’ choice award prior to Tuesday. The nominations were made on the basis of players’ achievement and performance throughout the past Nepali calendar year.
Khadka led Nepal to their first ever one-day international series victory over United Arab Emirates last year. He is fighting for the honour with his teammate Kami, paraglider Yukesh Gurung, judoka Indra Bahadur Shrestha and golfer Sukra Bahadur Rai. Khadka became the first Nepali player to hit ODI hundred during the third and series decider match against UAE.
Kami was also a key member of Nepali team’s ODI series win in the UAE. He took five wicket against the UAE in the second match of three-match series, which Nepal won 2-1. He took 11 in the series . Paraglider Gurung was a key member of the Nepali team that won a silver in the Asian Games in Indonesia. He was the highest point scorer for Nepali team.
Judoka Shrestha was the gold medallist of the South Asian Judo Championship in Kathmandu last year besides winning gold in the University Championship gold medal in Thailand. Amateur golfer Rai achieved a rare feat of winning Surya Nepal Eastern Open professional title. He was member of the team that won gold medal in the 34th Bangladesh Amateur Golf Championships besides winning three amateur titles.
Cricketer Rana Magar will vie for the female player of the year award along with footballer Sabitra Bhandari, spiker Saraswati Chaudhary, taekwondo player Nima Gurung and judoka Manita Shrestha Pradhan. Rana Magar was the top scorer for Nepal with 138 runs under her belt during the Women’s T20 Smash cricket tournament in Thailand. She also bagged eight wickets in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asian Region Qualifier in Thailand and scored 77 runs in total including highest 42.
Footballer Bhandari played key role in Nepal’s runners up finish in the Hero Gold Cup football tournament in India and scored both the goal in Nepal’s first ever victory over India in 2-1 win. She was also the joint highest scorer for Nepal in the SAFF Women’s Championship in Biratnagar where the hosts finished as runners-up. Bhandari was also the best player and highest scorer in Women’s League. Volleyball player Chaudhary was an influential member of Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club team that won nine out of 11 domestic titles they played last year.
Neema Gurung won a silver medal in Korea International Taekwondo Championship and University Taekwondo Championship besides winning bronze in the UAE. Judoka Shrestha Pradhan was the gold medallist at the University Judo Championships in Thailand. She also won bronze medal in the South Asian Judo Championships in Kathmandu besides representing Nepal at the Asian Games and World Judo Championships.
Sprinter Ajit Kumar Yadav, shuttler Prince Dahal, footballer Manjali Kumari Yonjan, karateka Bijay Shrestha and cricketer Rajbanshi were nominated in youth player of the year category. Former national cricket team coach Tamata along with paragliding coach Yogesh Bhattarai, athletics’ Dhani Ram Chaudhary, football’s Hari Khadka and volleyball’s Gyanendra Bista are nominees in coach of the year award.
The NSJF will award individuals and team in 10 different categories including para-athlete, people’s choice, lifetime achievement and special award. The NSJF will also honour a team for their outstanding performance throughout the year. NSJF has added international sports journalist award this year which will be presented to one best journalist from Asia.
Lifetime achievement award will be presented to a sportsperson for his/her long-term contribution towards sports and special award will be handed over to the special achievement and contribution in sports. The winners of lifetime, para-athlete, team of the year and international journalists will be directly revealed during the award function. Peoples’ Choice award will be picked up on the basis of votes from sports journalists, SMS voting and Facebook likes. The winners of male, female, coach and people’s choice will be rewarded with Pulsar motorbikes while the winners of other categories will receive Rs 50,000 each.