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Indian badminton great Pullela Gopichand felicitates sports achievers at SJAN awards in Nagpur

Sports JournalistsAssociation of Nagpur (SJAN) today held its Annual Sports Award Function – ‘G H Raisoni – SJAN Achievers Awards’ at Hotel Tuli Imperial to felicitate sports achievers from Nagpur.

Former badminton player and the Chief National coach for Indian badminton team, Pullela Gopichand was present at the function to hand over the awards to the  winners. The winners were chosen by the SJAN constituted selection committee which did a thorough research of the performances of an individual and institutions before selecting the awardees of this year.

Check mate!

Twenty six years old Swapnil Dhopade was presented with the  GH Raisoni trophy for being the ‘Best senior sportsman’ in chess. An year ago, Swapnil became the first Grandmaster from Vidarbha region. Swapnil who’s an employee of the Central Railway, won the International Open Chess tournament in Malaysia last month. Anup Deshmukh, Swanil’s coach and mentor since childhood received the award on Swapnil’s behalf.

Glorifying the ancient Indian practice

The GH Raisoni trophy for the ‘Best senior sportswoman’ went to Dhanashri Lekurwale for her achievements in Yoga. Dhanashri has dominated the national as well as international Yoga meets in the last half decade. In 2015, Dhanashri won two gold and three silver medals at the 24th Amateur World Yoga Sports Championship held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2016, she won  a silver medal (Rhythmic Yoga) and a bronze medal (Yogasana) at the 6th Asian Yoga Sports Championship at Hanoi, Vietnam.

Bowling his way to hearts

The GH Raisoni trophy for the ‘Best junior sportsperson’ in the field of cricket went to Aditya Thakre. Playing in the under-19 category, Aditya, a right-arm pacer took 34 wickets in six matches at an impressive average of 10.64 and economy of 2.28! Aditya finished the season as the third highest wicket-taker in the country after the league phase. He played an important role in Vidarbhas twin victories over Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. He was also picked in the senior team for the All India Karnataka State Cricket Association tournament this August. Former Rajasthan captain and Central Zone Zonal Academy coach P Krishna Kumar, in the past, has compared Aditya to Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath because of his accuracy.

Badminton champ

It must have been a dream come true for Ritika Thaker as she received the Baidhyanath trophy for the ‘Best junior female sportsperson’ in the field of badminton from the hands of none other than the Indian badminton great – Pullela Gopichand. Ritika represented India in the Junior Asian Badminton Championship 2014 in Bangkok becoming the youngest girl from the city to represent the country at the age of 13! Ritika, now a Standard X student of Chandra Devi Saraf  School, won the international junior under-17 girls singles title in Israel this year. She also helped Nagpur district team emerge as the champion in the junior under-17 and under-19 state team titles in Nashik this year.

Make it big, step by step

The Meeradevi trophy for the ‘Best sports organiser’ went to Arvind Joshi, Vice Principal, Dr Ambedkar College, Nagpur. Arvind Joshi has worked tirelessly for developing sports infrastructure at his college. Dr Ambedkar College has one of the best cricket grounds in Nagpur. Dr Ambedkar College Sports Academy (DACSA), founded by Joshi in 2000, has won many trophies across various sports disciplines. Last year, the DACSA age group cricket teams emerged champions in almost all the tournaments held in city. Apart from cricket, the DACSA also boasts of strong teams in table tennis, hockey and archery.

Promoting sports as a culture

The KC Bajaj trophy for the ‘Best college in sports promotion’ went to Ramdeobaba College Of Engineering & Management (RCOEM). Despite the pressure of a demanding academic calendar, RCOEM students have put up a commendable performance in sports over the last couple of years. They are the reigning Mens Nagpur University Inter-College Basketball Champions. In fact, they have been winning the title for last three years now. The RCOEM Women hoopsters too aren’t far behind. They have been runners-up in the Nagpur University Inter-College Basketball Championship since the last two years. RCOEM students have also performed well in the table tennis, chess and other sports too.

The Centre Point School trophy for the ‘Best school in sports promotion’ went to Delhi Public School (DPS), Kamptee. In a short span of time DPS has emerged as a sporting powerhouse among the city schools. DPS under-17 girls emerged as divisional football champions recently. In the DSO Athletic meet, DPS students achieved a top-two finish in close to 15 events. Darsh Jain of DPS secured second place in the under-8 age category in the recently held Mayors Cup Maharashtra State Amateur Chess Championship. DPS tennis player PVVS Basanth Pedapeti has qualified for the Inter-School State-Level meet from Nagpur Division.

Photos by: Suyash Sethiya

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