KATHMANDU, July 21: Footballer Nawayug Shrestha and judoka Phupu Lhamu Khatri on Thursday won the highest sports accolade during the Pulsar Sports Award 2072, which saw the dominance of football.
Nawayug won the male player of the year award as football claimed altogether five awards during the ceremony held in Kathmandu.
National football team's goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu, weightlifter Bikash Thapa, wushu player Rajesh Chaudhary and taekwondo player Bir Bahadur Mahara were in the race for the male player of the year award of the year.
National team's striker Nawayug was a key member when Nepal bagged Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Bangladesh and men's football in South Asian Games in India. Nawayug, who completed his international hat-trick against the Maldives, was the best player and highest scorer (four goals) in Bangabandhu Gold Cup.
Nawayug, who scored highest seven goals with two hat-tricks in the 12th SAG, had helped Nepal win the SAG football trophy after 23 years.
Nawayug was the highest scorer in National League with 14 goals when his club Tribhuvan Army Club finished runner-up.
“Such achievements help us to be more dedicated to whatever we are doing and encourage players like us to perform even better in coming days,” said Nawayug, who was elated with the award.
Meanwhile, the 12th SAG gold medalist Phupu won the women's player of the year award.
Wushu player Nima Gharti Magar, swimmer Gaurika Singh, triathlon's Roja KC and taekwondo player Rejina KC were other nominees of the category.
Phupu ended Nepali judo's 21 years wait for gold in the SAG when she bagged the medal in India.
She also became Nepal's first female judo player to win gold in the sub-continental sports extravaganza. Phupu won five international medals throughout the year.
“I won the award due to my hard work and want to dedicate the award to my late father,” said Phupu, who lost her father in the Everest avalanche in 2014.
Similarly, footballer Anjan Bista won youth player of the year award. Anjan left behind wushu player Nima Gharti Magar, swimmer Gaurika Singh, judoka Manita Shrestha Pradhan and cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane.
Anjan played key role when Nepal won SAFF U-19, Bangabandhu Gold Cup and 12th South Asian Games football trophies.
In the final of Bangabandhu, Anjan scored a goal and assisted on two occasions against Bahrain U-23. He also scored two goals in the SAG. Similarly, Anjan netted three goals in the SAFF U-19 and scored two goals for APF that finished fifth in the National League.
“The award will definitely encourage other youths to be involved in the game and will also encourage me to do even better. This will also help in the development of the game in the country,” said Anjan.
Likewise, football coach Bal Gopal Maharjan won the coach of the year award where another football coach Raju Kaji Shakya, wushu (taoulu) coach Prakash Maharjan, judo coach Dal Bahadur
Gurung and cricket coach Jagat Tamata had been nominated for the category.
Bal Gopal guided Nepal to the title of Bangabandhu Gold Cup and SAFF U-19 Championship. Nepali national football team won football gold after 23 years while bagging the Bangabandhu Cup.
Bal Gopal, who was the coach of Nepal for the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifier, is currently the head coach of Bangladesh's first division club Brothers Union.
Similarly, former footballer Shreeram Ranjitkar received life time achievement award and late Lalit Krishna Shrestha was posthumously given special award.
Table tennis player Nabita Shrestha bagged the people's choice award decided through SMS votes and Facebook likes.
Nabita received 150,511 votes as her closest competitor volleyball player Pratibha Mali got 116,956 votes.
Footballer Nawayug Shrestha, weightlifter Tara Devi Pun and cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane were other nominees.
Five-time national champion Nabita won bronze medal in women's doubles event in the 12th South Asian Games held in India. Elina Maharjan was her pair in the event. She also defeated players from Estonia and Pakistan during World Team Table Tennis Championship. She made it to the knockout stage in the 28th Summer Universiade beating opponents of Algeria and Sierra Leone.
Nabita, who leapfrogged to 429th positions in world ranking, is the current national champion.
“Knowing that table tennis has also been nominated made me feel proud. The achievement also showed that table tennis is also played in Nepal. It will motivate other players too,” said Nabita.
Sita Bhandari, who lost her right hand in a fire at the age of six, won the para athlete award. Sita had won bronze medal in para taekwondo during the IWAS World Games in 2015. The black belt second dan player had also secured bronze in the Second Asian Para Taekwondo Open Championship in Manila four months earlier.
The winners of male, female and peoples' choice award received Pulsar motorbike along with gift hampers and the winners of the remaining five categories got Rs 50,000 each and gift hampers.