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Chess player Koneru Humpy bags ‘BBC Indian sportswoman of the year’

India’s champion in women’s World Rapid Chess Championships (2019) Koneru Humpy has won the BBC Indian Sportswoman-of-the-Year award, as per a media release on Tuesday. The former Arjuna and Padmashri awardee is rated as one of the best female players to have come out of the country.

“This award is very precious, not only to me but the entire chess fraternity. Being an indoor game, chess doesn’t get as much attention as sports like cricket in India,” Humpy said from Vijayawada. “But, with this award, I hope, the game will draw people’s attention.I think I could win over the years because of willpower and confidence. A woman player should never think about quitting the game. Marriage and motherhood are part of life and should not change the course of our lives,” Humpy said.

BBC director-general Tim Davie hosted the virtual awards ceremony. “Huge congratulations to Koneru Humpy for winning this year’s BBC ISWOTY award. She has made a fantastic contribution to chess and this accolade is well deserved,” he remarked.

Koneru Humpy won Asia’s youngest Woman International Master (WIM) in 1999.She went on to become India’s youngest Woman Grandmaster (WGM) in 2001 and was subsequently awarded  Arjuna Award in 2003.She also won the individual bronze at the Women’s World Team Chess Championship 2015.However her biggest achievement cam in 2019 when she became women’s World Rapid champion after coming back from a nealry two-year maternity sabbatical.

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The other BBC awardees are olympian Anju Bobby George winning the life-time achievement award and young shooter Manu Bhaker winning the Emerging Player-of-the-Year award, a new category added this year onwards.

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