"I will give my best to win gold"
Indian Olympic silver medalist, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, has won the prestigious BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year Award (ISWOTY).
In the third edition of the BBC ISWOTY Awards, the weightlifter overcame an incredibly talented shortlist to win the prize.
This included golfer Aditi Ashok, para-shooter Avani Lekhara, boxer Lovlina Borgohain and badminton player PV Sindhu.
The young superstar was a history maker at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She clinched a silver medal, making her the first Indian weightlifter to do so.
She also set a new Olympic record by successfully lifting 115 kg in the clean and jerk.
So, there’s no surprise that Saikhom Mirabai Chanu took home the BBC ISWOTY Award.
The ceremony took place in New Delhi and although the athlete couldn’t appear in person, she remained very thankful in her video reaction:
“I am currently training in the United States of America.
“I will give my best to win gold at this year’s Asian and Commonwealth Games.
“Thanks again to BBC India for honouring me with the BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year award.”
Born in Manipur, India, the 27-year-old came from humble beginnings so there was an outpour of praise from fellow personalities.
As well as jubilation from social media, BBC’s Director-General, Tim Davie, who hosted the ceremony said:
“Congratulations to Mirabai Chanu, who is a fantastic sportswoman and a deserving winner of the award.”
There was an abundance of awards handed out at the show, including the ‘BBC Lifetime Achievement’ Award.
This was given to Karnam Malleswari, the first Indian woman to have won an Olympic medal, doing so in 2000. Relishing the moment, she expressed:
“After all the medals I have won, this award gives me a lot of motivation to work even harder.
“I am very thankful to the BBC that it is honouring not only the current players but players like us as well.”
Also, the youngest female cricketer who played for India, Shafali Verma, won the ‘BBC Emerging Player’ Award.
England cricketer, Jos Buttler, shared his congratulations, stating:
“I have seen some great performances from Indian sportswomen in cricket and other sports.
“Women’s cricket has progressed a lot in India and Shafali Verma has the opportunity to be a role model for the next generation.”
There’s no doubt that Shafail, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and the other winners are all deserving of their awards.
Not only is Chanu redefining the sport of weightlifting for Indian women, but she and her fellow athletes are progressing sport as a whole.