Chess player Koneru Humpy from Andhra Pradesh has won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year award (ISWOTY) for 2020, following a public vote.
Humpy is the World Rapid Chess champion having won the title in December 2019 after a two-year maternity break. In 2020, she won the Cairns Cup, an elite-level tournament for the top female players.
The 33-year-old beat sprinter Dutee Chand, airgun shooter Manu Bhaker, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and India hockey captain Rani Rampal to the award.
Humpy was born in the southern State of Andhra Pradesh. She received the Arjuna Award, one of India’s top sporting honours, in 2003, and India’s fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri, in 2007.
BBC director general Tim Davie, who hosted the virtual ceremony and announced the winner, said, he is pleased the BBC is leading the way in recognising the success of India’s sportswomen. He added BBC’s ISWOTY is not just an award, it is part of their editorial commitment to representing all voices and people in society.
Former long jumper Anju Bobby George was given the Lifetime Achievement award for her contribution to Indian sport. She remains the only athlete to win a World Championship athletics medal for her country.
England’s cricketer Ben Stokes announced the winner of the Emerging Player of the Year award, with Manu Bhaker receiving the honour, which was added to the awards for the first time.
The 19-year-old became the youngest Indian to clinch the women’s 10m air pistol gold at the Shooting World Cup in 2018.The BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year initiative was launched in 2019 to celebrate female achievements in sport and highlight the issues and challenges faced by women and girls in India.