Friday, February 23, 2024

TOISA 2023: Adille Sumariwalla chairs the eminent awards jury | More sports News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2023 are slated to take place in the city of Nawabs, Lucknow, on February 23, and will see some of India’s top icons across sports grace the occasion while the winners, which were decided after diligent deliberation by the eminent Jury, draw top honours.
Recognising the relentless pursuit of excellence by the country’s outstanding athletes, the sixth edition of TOISA will honour achievements spanning across 23 regular sports and 10 para sports categories, and will include individual as well as team awards.
Among the nominees are established and rising stars from various sports, which made picking winners an arduous task for the TOISA 2023 Jury headed by Adille Sumariwalla, who is the president of Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and vice-president of World Athletics (WA).
The eight-member TOISA Jury met in Delhi on February 1 and went through the exhaustive list of nominees to deliberate and pick the winner for each category.
Chaired by Adille, the other members of the Jury are Anju Bobby George, Pullela Gopichand, Yogeshwar Dutt, Gagan Narang, Deepa Malik, Karnam Malleswari and Zafar Iqbal.
Here’s a brief introduction to the TOISA 2023 Jury:
ADILLE SUMARIWALLA: Adille is a prominent figure in Indian athletics, recognised for his significant contributions both on and off the track. As a former sprinter, Sumariwalla represented India at various international competitions, showcasing his speed and agility on numerous occasions. Transitioning seamlessly from athlete to administrator, he has held several key positions both in India and globally in the athletics landscape, including his current role as AFI president and WA vice-president. Under his leadership, the AFI has witnessed notable advancements and initiatives aimed at nurturing and promoting talent across the country.
GAGAN NARANG: The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist and Khel Ratna awardee, Gagan Narang, is one of the most eminent names in Indian shooting history. With a career spanning over two decades, former rifle-shooter Narang, who won the Olympic medal in 10m Air Rifle event, has achieved numerous accolades across international competitions during his career, which include a staggering eight gold medals in Commonwealth Games. After retiring from the sport, Narang turned into a successful sports entrepreneur in the business of sports besides being a top administrator, currently serving as the vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association.
DEEPA MALIK: A trailblazing figure in Indian sports, Deepa is renowned for her extraordinary feats in para-athletics. Despite facing physical challenges due to a spinal tumor that left her paralyzed from waist down, Malik’s indomitable spirit and determination have propelled her to remarkable heights. She made history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games, securing a silver in shot put at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Malik’s illustrious career includes multiple medals at Asian Para Games and a silver at the 2011 IPC World Championships, and is also the recipient of the Padma Shri and Khel Ratna. She is currently serving as the president of the Paralympic Committee of India. Interestingly, Deepa has been a past recipient of TOISA besides being a jury member before and for this edition as well.
YOGESHWAR DUTT: Dutt is a revered name in Indian wrestling, remembered for his dedication to the sport that is best highlighted by his bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Hailing from a small village in Haryana, Khela Ratna recipient Dutt’s journey to success is a testament to his unwavering determination and grit. Dutt’s illustrious career also includes gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, further solidifying his status as one of India’s most decorated wrestlers.
PULLELA GOPICHAND: Gopichand, also known as Badminton Guru, stands as a towering figure in Indian badminton, famous for his achievements and contributions as both a player and a coach. As a player, Gopichand’s remarkable achievements include clinching the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championship in 2001, a feat that brought him international acclaim and solidified his place in Indian sporting history. Transitioning seamlessly to coaching after retiring from competitive play, the multiple Padma awardee has played a pivotal role in nurturing a new generation of badminton talent in India. Under the guidance of Dronacharya award winner and Khel Ratna Gopichand, several Indian shuttlers, including Olympic medalists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, have scaled unprecedented heights in the sport.
KARNAM MALLESWARI: Malleswari, a trailblazer in Indian weightlifting, has left a lasting impact on Indian sports through her landmark achievements. Hailing from a humble background in Andhra Pradesh, Malleswari defied societal norms and overcame numerous obstacles to become one of India’s most decorated athletes. Her crowning glory came at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she clinched the bronze medal in the 69kg weight category, becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. Malleswari’s illustrious career also includes double World Championship titles, besides being awarded the Padma Shri and the Khel Ratna for her achievements.
ZAFAR IQBAL: Zafar Iqbal is a legendary figure in Indian hockey, who was known for his exceptional stickwork as a striker, captivating audiences with his speed, agility and goal-scoring prowess. Topping the list of achievements in his illustrious career is winning the 1980 Olympic gold medal, solidifying his status as one of India’s greatest hockey players. Iqbal’s leadership and sportsmanship have earned him respect both on and off the field, inspiring generations of aspiring hockey players across the country. His eminence as TOISA Jury member gets further amplified by the fact that he has been part of the jury in each edition since the inaugural TOISA in 2015.
ANJU BOBBY GEORGE: Hailing from Kerala, Anju rose to prominence as a long jumper, captivating the nation with her crowning moment at the 2003 World Championships, where she became the first Indian athlete to win a World Championship medal, securing a historic bronze. Anju’s illustrious career also includes winning a gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games. Beyond her sporting feats, she is admired for her resilience and commitment to the sport, serving as a role model for aspiring athletes. Anju, a Padma Shri and Khel Ratna awardee whose national record in women’s long jump remains intact, is currently also serving as the senior vice-president of the Athletics Federation of India.

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