New Delhi, February 8: India hockey team skipper Rani Rampal will compete with chess ace Koneru Humpy and young shooter Manu Bhaker for the BBC 'Indian Sportswoman of the Year' award after being nominated for the honour along with two others on Monday (February 8).
Vinesh Phogat, who is the only Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and the Asian Games 100m silver medallist Dutee Chand, who missed out on the inaugural award last year, have been again nominated by the 40-member jury panel.
The winner will be decided by public voting. The fans can vote for their favourite star on any of the six language platforms of the BBC. The voting is open till February 24 and the winner will be announced on March 8, the international Women's Day.
The organisers have introduced a new category this year - 'Emerging Player of the Year' and the winner of which will be decided by the jury instead of voting.
Asked why a cricketer has not been nominated for the second straight year, Rupa Jha, BBC Head of Indian Languages clarified that the nominees were selected by the jury, full of experts and sports writers, and that they did not exclude any sport.
Athletics star PT Usha, who received the lifetime achievement award the last year, lauded the BBC for the initiative. She also tipped India's mixed relay team to do well at the Tokyo Olympic Games but was candid in saying that medal will be difficult to get.
"Getting a medal in athletics at Olympics is very tough. But slowly we have started doing well. In future, we will get a medal. Our mixed relay team did well at the World Athletics in 2019 by reaching the final. They finished seventh. There is a good chance of a good performance for it," she said.
"Javelin-thrower Neeraj Chopra is expected to do well. PV Sindhu won a medal last time and she should get gold this year. (Boxer) Mary Kom should also do well," she added.
The BBC also announced that it will host a 'Sports Hackathon' where more than 300 Wikipedia entries of 50 Indian sportswomen will be added.
It has tied up with various journalism institutes in various states in the country for the said purpose. Para badminton player Mansi Joshi said such an initiative was required since not much information is available on many of country's women athletes.