Chess player Koneru Humpy named BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year
Koneru Humpy, the reigning fast chess world champion, won the second edition of the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year (ISWOTY) award. The BBC ISWOTY was first launched in 2019 to honor the country’s top sportswomen and highlight the inspiring journeys of talented Indian sportswomen.
A 40-member jury had named Humpy, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, sprinter Dutee Chand, shooter Manu Bhaker and hockey skipper Rani Rampal for this year’s honor. The youngest chess grandmaster in history, Humpy took home the award after receiving the most votes from the public.
“Being an indoor game, chess doesn’t get as much attention as sports like cricket in India. But with this award, I hope the game catches people’s attention, ”Humpy said after receiving the honor.
The virtual awards ceremony was organized and the winner was announced by BBC Managing Director Tim Davie.
When she became world champion in 2019 after her maternity leave, her daughter was only two years old.
“I won over the years thanks to my will and my confidence. A player should never think about quitting her game. Marriage and motherhood are only a part of our life and they should not change the course of our life, ”Koneru said, taking the opportunity to talk about problems of women in the professional world.
Being a grandmaster from a young age, Koneru has always been under a certain pressure to maintain the standard. Being a woman has always been part of the equation for her. “As a woman there were situations where male players liked the way I had given a fight. There were also players who did not want me to compete among them.
Born in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Humpy was identified as a chess prodigy from an early age by her father and trained as such. After winning some major youth tournaments, she became the youngest grandmaster, at age 15, in 2002 – a record that was broken in 2008.
She received the Arjuna Award, one of India’s top sporting honors, in 2003, and the fourth Indian civilian award, Padma Shri, in 2007.
Veteran athlete Anju Bobby George, the only Indian athlete to win a medal at the 2003 World Long Jump Championships, was this year’s Lifetime Achievement recipient.
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