Dutee Chand, Rani Rampal among five in fray for BBC Indian Sportswoman award

The winner will be announced on March 8 after public voting. PV Sindhu won the inaugural award in 2020.

By Utathya Nag

Sprinter Dutee Chand, shooter Manu Bhaker, hockey player Rani Rampal, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and chess player Koneru Humpy were named as the five nominees for the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2021 award on Monday.

Started by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last year, the award celebrates female athletes from across the country and recognises their successes.

Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu won the inaugural award in 2020 while the legendary PT Usha was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award.

This year’s nomination list was selected by a panel of eminent sports journalists, experts and writers from across the country.

The shortlist will be opened up for public voting until February 24 and the winner will be announced on March 8 at a virtual ceremony in Delhi and on the BBC Sport website.

An Emerging Sportswoman of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement award will also be given.

BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2021 nominees

Dutee Chand is currently India’s premier women’s sprinter. The double Asian Games silver medallist holds the national record in women’s 100m and was the first Indian woman in history to qualify for the event at Rio 2016.

Shooter Manu Bhaker is a Youth Olympics champion in the 10m Air Pistol event and has multiple International Sports Shooting Federation (ISSF) World Cup gold medals to her name. In 2019, she won the gold medal at the ISSF World Cup Final in China.

Bhaker, also a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, is one of the nine Indian shooters to win a quota place for the Tokyo Olympics.

Vinesh Phogat, meanwhile, is currently the only Indian women’s wrestler to have qualified for Tokyo. The freestyle grappler has won gold medals at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Rani Rampal was part of the Indian women’s hockey team which qualified for the Rio Games in 2016 after 36 years. In 2018, Rani famously led the Indian eves to the Asian Games silver medal as captain and was an integral figure to helping the team qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games.

Koneru Humpy, who was once the youngest female chess Grandmaster in history, is an Asian Games gold medallist and the current women's World Rapid chess champion.