KATHMANDU, July 2:Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) on Friday unveiled five nominees for the People's Choice Award under the Pulsar Sports Award 2072 to be held in the capital on July 21.
NSJF, the organizer of the annual award, announced the names of table tennis player Nabita Shrestha, footballer Nawayug Shrestha, weightlifter Tara Devi Pun, cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane and volleyball player Prativa Mali as the nominees during a press conference in the capital.
The winner among them will be decided through SMS voting and Facebook likes. The category earlier known as Popular Player of the Year has been changed to People's Choice Award, according to Raju Ghising, the secretary and coordinator of the player selection committee.
The SMS vote can be cast through THT Live's 33131 service by NT, Ncell and Smart Telecom users. The winner of the category will get Pulsar motorcycle and a Dish Home set-top box.
Meanwhile, NSJF also extended its partnership agreement with Avenues Television for live broadcast and THT Live for SMS service. NSJF President Mahesh Acharya, Chief Operating Officer of Avenues TV Samriddhi Rajkarnikar and THT Live's officer Sajan Subedi inked the deal on behalf of their respective institutions.
According to NSHF Secretary Ghising, the players were picked on the basis of their performance and fame throughout the year 2072 BS. “Five successful and most talked about player throughout the year are nominated in the category,” Ghising said.
In the past, footballers Jumanu Rai and Santosh Shahukhala, volleyball players Manju Gurung, Sipora Gurung, Ramila Tandukar and Saraswati Chaudhary as well as wushu player Jharana Gurung had won the award.
The achievements of the nominees
Nabita is the five-time national champion. She 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 28th Summer Universiade Games beating opponents of Algeria and Sierra Leone.
Nabita, who leapfrogged to 429th positions in world ranking, is the current national champion.
Tribhuvan Army Club player Nawayu is the fifth player to score international hat-trick for Nepal. He was named player-of-the-tournament when Nepal bagged Bangabandhu Gold Cup trophy in Bangladesh. He also collected the highest scorer award in the same tournament for his four-goal haul which included a hat-trick against the Maldives. Similarly, he also scored two hat-tricks for Nepal's U-23 men's football team that claimed gold medal in the 12th SAG in India beating the host in final. He netted highest seven goals in the tournament. Nawayug was also the highest scorer in the National League with 14 goals for Army as the departmental team finished second.
Tara Devi Pun
Weightlifter Tara won bronze medal in women's weightlifting included for the first time in the last edition of SAG. The strongest women of the country lifted 165 kg including 70 kg in snatch and 95 kg in clean and jerk. She also broke three national records during the 26th Women's Asian Weightlifting Championship held in Thailand last year. She holds the national record for lifting 71 kg in snatch, 95 kg in clean and jerk and a total weight of 166 kg.
Sandeep, the only hat-trick boy of the ICC U-19 World Cup 2016 held in Bangladesh, was the second highest wicket taker in the event with 14 wickets in six matches. He played a key role in the team's entry into quarterfinal. Also a member of the national cricket team, Sandeep had claimed hat-trick against Ireland in the U-19 World Cup. Sandeep, who has often been compared with Australian great Shane Warne, was in the limelight in international media for his variations in bowling.
Prativa was one of the key players in national volleyball squad that bagged bronze medal in women's volleyball event in the 12th SAG. New Diamond Academy player Prativa was named best player when the team won the National Women's Volleyball Tournament in Pokhara three years in a row. She also won the best player award in Madan-Pasang Memorial Cup and Prime Minister Cup. Prativa claimed the best spiker award in Sher Bahadur Khadka Memorial Tournament and Dhorpatan Double League as her club finished runner-up in both the occasions.