Olympic medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2021 award on Monday.
The Manipur-born Mirabai Chanu created history at the Tokyo Olympics last year by becoming the first Indian weightlifter to win a silver medal at the quadrennial showpiece.
A former world champion, Mirabai Chanu pipped badminton world champion PV Sindhu, golfer Aditi Ashok, boxer Lovlina Borgohain and para-shooter Avani Lekhara for the prestigious annual award, given out by the British broadcasters.
While PV Sindhu, Lovlina Borgohain and Avani Lekhara had won medals at Tokyo 2020, Aditi Ashok missed out on the podium by a whisker, finishing fourth.
The five nominees were selected by a panel of sports journalists, experts and writers. The winner was selected through an online public vote which was open for 20 days.
Mirabai Chanu has qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022 after winning the Singapore Weightlifting International earlier this year. She is currently training in St. Louis, USA for this year’s CWG and Asian Games.
Meanwhile, another weightlifter, Karnam Malleswari, who won the bronze medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, was presented the BBC Lifetime Achievement award.
A two-time world champion, Karnam Malleswari was the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Olympics.
The BBC Emerging Player award was given to 18-year-old Indian cricketer Shafali Verma, who represented India at the Women’s World Cup 2022.
This was the third edition of the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year awards. PV Sindhu won it in 2019 while chess grandmaster Koneru Humpy got it in 2020.