Kolkata: The Annual Award ceremony of the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club (CSJC) was held on Tuesday in the Satyajit Ray Auditorium of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The programme kicked off with a soulful musical tribute to the late folk singing legend Kalika Prasad Bhattacharya.
An emotionally charged audience was then addressed by senior journalist and President of the CSJC, Dhiman Sarkar, who set the ball rolling by saying that the evening was only “for sportspeople by the sports journalists.”
The Inspiration of the year award was given to Deepa Malik, the Paralympian who made the country proud at the Rio Paralympics last year by winning a silver medal in the shot put event, while on a wheelchair. And although she wasn’t present in person to receive her award, she thanked the media in a video message saying, “I am very thankful to the CSJC for giving me this award. It is good that the journey of us, Paralympians are covered by the media and it is an honour to be receiving such an award from journalists.”
Indian cricketer Wriddhiman Saha was honoured with a special award for his splendid performance in India’s Test season at home. Saha, who is currently playing for the Kings XI Punjab, had wife Debarati to collect the award on his behalf.
And after the efforts of some young sports persons were acknowledged, came the turn of the old warhorses to take centre stage as legends like footballer Shyam Thapa, cricketer Satyabrata (Raju) Mukherjee and chess Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua were honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards by the club. Former Indian football captain Chuni Goswami, along with the Sports Minister of West Bengal Aroop Biswas gave the awards to these legendary figures for their outstanding contributions to sports. Thapa said, “Thanks to the journalists who still sometimes write about me, people know me and my game. I would like to say that I would always be involved with football in whichever capacity possible.” Mukherjee said, “It is an honour to have received an award like this from the journalists.” Barua, who was the second Grandmaster in India after Viswanathan Anand, pointed out, “I want to dedicate this award to my late father who has constantly supported me.”
And legends made way for a legend-in-the-making. Golfer SSP Chawrasia, who won the Indian Open just last month, was given the Sportsperson of the year award. And, understandably, a deafening applause followed after this announcement as he came on to the stage and credited the journalists who make players popular. “Without journalists nobody will know sportspersons. I hope this award becomes a lucky charm as I get ready for tournaments in Japan, China and England,” he said.
Cricketer Saurav Singh was adjudged the Junior Sportsperson of the year. Special award winners included Rana Gharami, Manvir Singh, members of the Bengal team that beat Goa to clinch their 32nd Santosh Trophy title along with coach Mridul Banerjee, Pranab Nandy, the coach of the Bengal U-19 team that won the Cooch Behar Trophy and Anindita Chakraborty, who helped Bengal become the national table tennis champion.
SSP Chawrasia (Sportsperson of the year), Saurav Singh (Junior Sportsperson of the year) and Deepa Malik (Inspiration of the year)
Lifetime Achievement Awards: Satayabrata (Raju) Mukherjee (cricket), Dibyendu Barua (chess), Shyam Thapa (football)
The special award winners: Wriddhiman Saha (cricket), Mridul Banerjee (football), Anindita Chakraborty (table tennis), Pranab Nandy (cricket), Manvir Singh and Rana Gharami (football)
Athletes of the year: Mohammed Rafique and Jeje Lalpekhlua (football), Abhimanyu Easwaran (cricket), Moumita Dutta (table tennis), Atanu Das (archery), Sathi Dolui (hockey), Chandan Bauri and Rajashree Prasad (athletics, men and women winners respectively), Utsava Palit (badminton), Sitamoni Tudu (basketball), Tithi Dhara (volleyball), Arpita Mukherjee (chess) and Moupriya Mitra (aquatics-diving)