Athletes dominate male and female players’ nominations at NSJF Pulsar Sports AwardsFive players from athletics are nominated in two major categories of the annual event set to take place on February 11.
Athletics dominated the list of nominees for the male and female player of the year award categories at the annual NSJF Pulsar Sports Award unveiled on Sunday by the organisers Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF).
Among the eight nominees in each category, three athletics players are nominated in the female player of the year while two are nominated in male player of the year category. Athletes Deepak Adhikari and Mukesh Pal are the nominees in male players of the year while Rajpura Pachhai, Pushpa Bhandari and Jayarani Tharu are the female player of the year nominees.
According to NSJF, the umbrella organisation of sports journalists throughout the country, the players were picked on the basis of their performance and outcome in the national and international sports sector in the past Nepali calendar year (2079 BS). Eight nominees each in the youth player of the year and coach of the year will be announced in a few days.
Apart from runner Adhikari and Pal, cricketers Aasif Sheikh and Rohit Paudel, swimmer Nasir Yahya Hussain, national volleyball captain Man Bahadur Shrestha, golfer Subash Tamang and chess player Rupesh Jaiswal are other nominees in male player of the year category.
The other nominees for female player of the year include judoka Punam Shrestha, triathlete Shrebee Maharjan, swimmer Duwana Lama, basketball player Anusha Malla and footballer Amisha Karki.
According to the press release, a selection committee formed by NSJF picked the players. "We have nominated eight players, unlike five in the previous editions. The top three players in each category will be announced within a week and the winner will be announced during the award ceremony on February 11."
The winners of five categories—male, female, youth and coach of the year along with peoples' choice award—will be rewarded with Pulsar motorbikes each. NSJF have already announced nominees for people's choice award which will be picked through Facebook likes, eSewa votes, points allocated by chief coaches of 27 sports associations affiliated with Nepal Olympic Committee and members of the NSJF.
Athlete Adhikari earned twin gold medals last year in the 16th Asian Cross Country including men's individual 10km cross country and men's team event gold. He has also clinched gold at the national meets including 10km race with national record time in the Ninth National Games.
Middle distance runner Pal earned bronze in the Asian Cross Country and earned gold in men's 1500m race in the Ninth National Games and National Athletics Championships. Cricketer Sheikh scored 1093 runs in ODI, the highest by a Nepali batter, in the past calendar year. He scored a century against Papua New Guinea (PNG) and seven half centuries.
Cricketer Paudel led the team to victories in 11 matches among the last 12 games to help Nepal retain ODI status. He scored a decisive 95 runs against Ireland. Volleyball's Man Bahadur Shrestha won silver medal in the CAVA men's volleyball in Dhaka pairing with Dil Bahadur Sunar. He was also the captain of the team.
Swimmer Nasir Yahya Hussain grabbed seven gold, two silver and a bronze medal at the Ninth National Games. Golfer Subash Tamang was the member of the team that won Nepal Tourism Cup and Bangladesh Amateur Cup. He also won individual gold at the Ninth National Games.
Chess player Rupesh Jaiswal clinched silver under foreigners' category in the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Trophy International Grand Master Chess and was the highest scorer among Nepali players in the FIDE Chess Olympiad in Chennai. He has also won multiple domestic titles.
Athlete Bhandari, the nominee for female player of the year, claimed gold at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Dhaka Marathon setting a new national record. She was also a member of the team that earned silver in the women's cross country team event at the 16th Asian Cross Country Championships. Pachhai, the other nominee for female player of the year, secured individual silver in the 10km of the 16th Asian Cross Country Championships. She was also the member of the Nepali squad that earned team silver in the 16th Asian Cross Country Championships.
Tharu, the other athletics player, claimed the highest five golds among athletics players in the Ninth National Games. She was declared the best player in the 44th National Athletics where she set two national records and earned four golds.
Footballer Karki was an influential member of the Nepal squad that claimed SAFF Women's silver. She had scored two goals in the tournament at home turf. She was also a member of SAFF U-20 runner up squad and won joint highest scorer award for scoring four goals.
Basketball player Malla was an influential member of Nepali squad that won a silver medal in the SABA Women's Championships. Swimmer Lama secured the highest nine gold and a silver medal in the Ninth National Games. Judoka Shrestha secured a bronze medal at the Bishkek Asian Senior Open Judo Championships. She was also the gold medalist at the Ninth National Games in the 70kg division.
Triatholan's Shrebee Maharjan secured the silver medal under South Asian category in the Asia Cup Triathlon held last year in Pokhara.