The BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year award (BBC ISWOTY 2019) has announced the five shortlisted contestants voted for by an eminent jury of Indiansports journalists, experts and writers. Starting today, the public can vote for their favourite Indian sportswoman on BBC languages and BBC sport websites. The five nominees are athlete Dutee Chand, para-badminton star Manasi Joshi, five time world boxing champion from Manipur Mary Kom, Vinesh Phogat of freestyle wrestling and PV Sindhu of badminton.
Fran Unsworth, BBC’s Director of News said, ‘With the growing success and global recognition of Indian sportswomen, I am delighted BBC ISWOTY 2019 is set to become one of the most prestigious accolades for female sports stars in India. Fans around the world will decide the winner when they vote for the sportswoman that has inspired them most from the five shortlisted nominees.’ The winner will be announced on 8th of March 2020 by BBC’s Director-General, Lord Tony Hall in Delhi. On the awards night, BBC will also honour a legendary sportswoman with a Lifetime Achievement award.
Boxing star Mary Kom said, ‘It doesn’t matter whether I win this award or not, I won’t get hurt. But I can say this award will go to a deserving player.’ On being nominated for the award Dutee Chand expressed, ‘Many more people will recognise me and my sport through the documentary produced by BBC on me. I am truly happy being nominated for the first ever award BBC Sports award in India.’ Manasi Joshi also said, ‘I am very pleased to know that I am nominated not in para-athlete category but in the able bodied, normal category of sportswomen.’
Vinesh Phogat and PV Sindhu also said that the award gives them a sense of satisfaction of doing things well and also encourages them for the future. The voting can be done online for free on BBC Sports, BBC Hindi, BBC Punjabi, BBC Marathi, BBC Tamil, BBC Telegu, BBC Gujarati and follow inspiring stories of emerging female talent in all sport categories including the para-athletes in India. The voting closes worldwide on 17th of February 2020 at 11:30 pm.
As part of BBC ISWOTY, a comprehensive study is being conducted to understand attitudes and perceptions in India when it comes to women in sports, gender roles and the ideas around‘women’s place’ in society. The research findings will be made available in the first week of March. Another project will analyse data focussing in detail on the performances of Indian sportswomen from 1951 to November 2019. In-depth reports will examine significant trends across all categories of international sports, starting from the first medal in1951 at Asian Games.
BBC News announced the trailblazing BBC ISWOTY 2019 award on 19th December 2019, aimed at honouring exceptional Indian female athletes and players, to celebrate their talent and inspiration to sports fans around the world.