(From L) The combo picture shows male player of the year nominees of Pulsar Sports Award -- weightlifter Bikash Thapa, footballers Bikesh Kuthu and Nawayug Shrestha, taekwondo player Bir Bahadur Mahara and wushu player Rajesh Chaudhary. (Republica)
KATHMANDU, July 14: Footballers dominated the list of nominees for the Pulsar Sports Award to be held in the capital on July 21. Altogether five players and coaches were nominated in various four categories of the sports award on Wednesday.
Nepali national footballers Nawayug Shrestha and Bikesh Kutu were named the nominees for the male player of the year while Anjan Bista, also a member of the national squad, was named for the youth player of the year. Similarly, coaches Bal Gopal Maharjan and Raju Shakya were among the five nominees of the coach of the year award. Nawayug is already in the list of five nominees for the Peoples' Choice Award to be decided through Facebook likes and SMS voting.
Wushu is behind football with four nominees in as many categories. Teenager Neema Gharti Magar is nominated in two categories including the female and youth player of the year award. Rajesh Chaudhary and Prakash Maharjan have been nominated in male player of the year and coach of the year award respectively.
Meanwhile, swimmer Gaurika Singh is also nominated in female and youth categories.
A seven member selection committee of Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF), the organizer of the event, under coordination of its secretary Raju Ghising announced the nominees. According to Ghising, the players were selected on the basis of their performance in domestic and international tournaments throughout the year 2072 (BS).
Besides Nawayug Shrestha and Bikesh Kuthu, weightlifter Bikash Thapa, wushu player Rajesh Chaudhary and taekwondo player Bir Bahadur Mahara were nominated for the male player of the year award.
Nawayug, the striker of the national team played key role in Nepal's title haul of Bangabandhu Gold Cup and men's football in South Asian Games. He was named the best player and highest scorer (four goals) of Bangabandhu Gold Cup. He completed hat-trick against the Maldives and wrote his name in history books as the fifth Nepali player to achieve the feat in international football. Similarly, with seven goals under his belt, including two hat-tricks, he became the highest scorer in SAG men's football. Nawayug became the highest scorer in National League with 14 goals and played a key role in Tribhuvan Army Club's second place finish.
Footballer Bikesh played key role in Nepal's first place finish in Bangabandhu and SAG football. He maintained clean sheet in four out of five matches of Bangabandhu and conceded just one goal. He conceded lowest six goals in National League for Tribhuvan Army Club's second place finish.
Weightlifter Bikash not only claimed silver medal in SAG weightlifting but also shattered a 14-year old national record in snatch section. He had lifted 112 kg in snatch and 130 kg in clean and jerk during SAG. He also participated in Asian Weightlifting in Phuket, Thailand.
Wushu player Rajesh Chaudhary secured silver in 12th SAG in his very first international debut. He was the only Nepali male player to make it to the final of sansou. He also earned bronze in the eighth Asian Junior Championship.
Taekwond player Bir Bahadur Mahara won silver in the 12th SAG during his international debut.
Judoka Phupu Lhamu Khatri, wushu player Nima Gharti Magar, swimmer Gaurika Singh, triathlon's Roja KC and taekwondon's Rejina KC were named the nominees for female player of the year award. Phupu ended gold drought in judo for 21 years in SAG and also became the Nepal's first female player to win gold in the sub-continental sports extravagant. She also won five medals abroad throughout the year including in Europe.
Wushu player Nima secured first gold for Nepal in SAG. She achieved the feat in her very first international participation. Swimmer Gaurika claimed four medals in SAG including a silver and three bronze medals. She set 10 national records in the event including seven individual. She set 22 national records in four domestic competitions.
Tri-athlete Roja earned two medals in SAG including a silver and bronze each. Taekwondo player Rejina KC earned silver in SAG in her debut international participation.
Wushu player Nima, swimmer Gaurkia, cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane, judoka Manita Shrestha Pradhan and footballer Anjan were the nominees of youth category.
Football coaches Bal Gopal Maharjan and Raju Shakya, wushu (taoulu) coach Prakash Maharjan, judo coach Dal Bahadur Gurung and cricket coach Jagat Tamata were included in the coach of the year award.
NSJF rewards sports persons in various eight categories in the award ceremony on July 21. There won't be nominations for the special, para and lifetime achievement award and the winner will be declared during the award ceremony. The winner of male, female and peoples' choice award will be given Pulsar motorbike each and the winners of the remaining five categories will be given Rs 50,000 each.