Anand and Humpy win Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Decade in Sportstar Aces Awards

by Shahid Ahmed
4/4/2021 – On April 3, Sportstar premiered the ‘Sportstar Aces Awards 2021’ on their YouTube channel. Vishy Anand was nominated for ‘Sportsman of the Decade Non-Olympic Sport’ along with Pankaj Advani (billiards) and Rajat Chauhan (compound archery). Koneru Humpy was nominated for ‘Sportswoman of the Decade Non-Olympic Sport’ along with Harika Dronavalli and Jyothi Surekha (compound archery). Arjuna Awardees Dibyendu Barua and Tania Sachdev presented the awards to Anand and Humpy respectively. | Photo: Sportstar

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Chess shines

Vishy Anand and Koneru Humpy won the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Decade in non-Olympic sports at the ‘Sportstar Aces Awards 2021’. 23-time world champion in billiards Pankaj Advani and Arjuna awardee Rajat Chauhan were the other nominees in the men’s category, while world number 9 among women chess players Harika Dronavalli and Arjuna Awardee Jyothi Surekha were the other nominees in the women’s category.

Koneru Humpy and Vishy Anand were declared the winners. And Anand even won a second prize: the Moment of the Decade award for winning the World Rapid Championship in 2017.

Tania Sachdev

Arjuna awardee IM Tania Sachdev presented the women’s award

Dibyendu Barua

India’s second ever GM and Anand’s long-time friend Dibyendu Barua presented the award 

During her acceptance speech (see full video of the virtual ceremony below), Humpy commented on her association with Sportstar:

Today it’s a very happy moment for me, receiving the Sportswoman of the Decade award. This is very memorable because my association with Sportstar started quite early when I was just around ten years old. I won the World Youth championship in 1997 and that’s when I was given the Sportstar Young Achievers Award. It motivated me a lot to bring many more laurels for the country. Immediately the next year I won the World Under-12 Youth Championship, and again I received one more Young Achievers Award from Sportstar.

Humpy KoneruShe also talked about winning the Women’s World Rapid Championship, getting gold in the FIDE Online Olympiad and the growth of chess during lockdown:

Somehow I always feel very fortunate that whenever I win a medal for the country, I have always been recognized and blessed by the well-wishers. So that way it’s a great moment for me. In 2019, I managed to win most of the major events — Grand Prix and also the Women’s World Rapid Championship; a prestigious tournament in USA — Cairns Cup. This lockdown is completely a different experience for me because chess game has gone into a virtual mode. Major tournaments like Olympiad where I managed to play — our country won the gold medal for the first time in Olympiad.

It’s a great experience and I do hope that even these tough times has given a great opportunity for the sport to reach a wide range of spectators. I also thank once again to Sportstar for giving me this award and definitely this motivates me a lot to achieve much more laurels for the country.

Vishy Anand declared:

I am really delighted to win the Sportsman of the Decade (Non-Olympic Sports). For me that includes two world championships, the qualification in 2014 and the World Rapid Championship in 2017. Each one of these was very significant moment for me, and emotionally draining. All these four events, in different ways, were very special. You live through a lot. Two of them I was coming back after very difficult periods in my career and the two matches were obviously very dramatic. One went to the tie-break, one finished in the last round — you know, after a volcano ride and everything.

So, a very special decade for me, and I am very very proud that you all think that I am the sportsperson of the decade. Thank you very much, and it’s an honour to receive this award.


Sportstar Aces Awards 2021 - Day 03 ceremony


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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.
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