National cricket team skipper Paras Khadka was declared the Player of the Year (PoY) and Pubudu Dassanayake the best coach as cricket grabbed four honours in the Pulsar Sports Award in a grand ceremony on Tuesday.
Cricket Association of Blind (CAB) and it’s President Pawan Ghimire took the Special Award winner, while Para athlete-cum-blind cricketer took the Paraathlete of the year award.
Paras edged his own teammate and national team left arm spinner Basanta Regmi, footballer Bharat Khawas, sprinter Tilak Ram Tharu and karate player Sunil Lama to win the most prestigious award of the country.
With Paras playing a crucial role in Nepal’s successful international campaign last year where the 26-year old himself performed with both bat and ball, the selection for the national team skipper was an easier one for the juries.
An exemplary leadership from Paras gave Nepal two international titles last year — ICC World Cricket League Division-IV in Malaysia in September and the first ever ACC Trophy Elite at the UAE in October. Paras took nine wickets and made 89 runs in Nepal successful Division-IV campaign that kept Nepal’s ambition of playing in the 2015 World Cup alive.
His best shot, however, came in the last two tournaments of the year where he was ajdugded the man-of-the-series in both events.
With Paras’ ever-inspiring performance, Nepal landed home their first ever ACC Trophy from Dubai in October after sharing the title with hosts UAE. It was a tournament where Paras was the leading run getter with 291 runs and picked up nine wickets.
Paras stroked 207 runs and picked up four wickets to take Nepal into the ACC Twenty20 final for the first time in history in front of the home crowd. Paras was declared the man-of-the-series in ACC Twenty20 where Nepal lost to Afghanistan in the final.
Paras was also instrumental in APF’s double success in national tournaments. With Paras performing in two finals, APF defended their One-Day National Cricket Tournament title and for the first time won the Twenty20 event.
But Paras was a suprise loser in the Popular PoY despite being in the headlines throughout the year. Wushu player Jharana Gurung won the Popular award earning 71,806 votes. Paras was a distant fourth in the category which is determined through SMS votes and facebook likes.
Paras received 9502 votes, while Sirish earned 14,560 and Keshary 10,680 with Jagjit ending up at the bottom with 2034.
Dassanayake gave cricket the first delight in a glittering ceremony beating Wangden Lama of swimming, Nar Bahadur Shahi of athletics, Yubaraj Gurung of wushu and Akbar Shah of karate. Dassanayake, however, was not available to receive the award since he is in Canada currently and is returning on July 18.
Similar to Paras, Dassanayake was almost a unanimous selection for the juries following the fine results he produced for Nepal last year. Nepal have so far not returned empty handed from any international 50-over tournament with Dassanayake being a major force behind the team’s success.
NSJF — the umbrella association of Nepalese sports journalists honoured Pawan for his contribution in the development of blind cricket in the country in a six-year short span. After establishing the CAB in 2006, Pawan began to make the game more systematic that began from organising regional and national cricket tournaments and reached the 2012 Cricket World Cup for Blind.
Pawan and CAB also gave Nepal a distinct status of being the only country to have a women’s cricket team. The achievement has also won CAB a nomination in the Beyond Sports Award that is to be staged in America.
Bikram holds a peculiar record of being the only player to compete in Cricket World Cup for Blind and Para Olympic Games and in both events he gave his best. In the 2012 London Para Olympics Bikram went on to set new national record in 100m and 200m races.
In the Cricket World Cup for Blind in Bangalore his 58 runs and one wicket saw Nepal defeat Bangladesh by nine wickets for a historical victory. He ended up being the highest scorer for Nepal in the World Cup with 154 runs apart from claiming two wickets.
Akash Bista was the other nominee in the Sports Award but lost the Youth Player of the Year to Chahana Bomjan Lama of wushu. Karate player Ganga Devi Adhikari won the Player of the Year (Female) for winning three international gold medals and remaining undispute throughout the year.
Former national football team coach and one of the faces behind the establishment ANFA Football Academy Bhim Thapa was honoured with the Lifetime Acheivement Award for his contribution to the game.
PULSAR SPORTS AWARD WINNERS
BEST PLAYER (MALE): PARAS KHADKA (CRICKET)
BEST PLAYER (FEMALE): GANGA DEVI ADHIKARI (KARATE)
YOUTH PLAYER: CHAHANA BOMJAN LAMA (WUSHU)
COACH: PUBUDU DASSNAYAKE (CRICKET)
POPULAR PLAYER: JHARANA GURUNG (WUSHU)
SPECIAL AWARD: PAWAN GHIMIRE AND CRICKET ASSOCIATION FOR BLIND
BEST PARA ATHLETE: BIKRAM BAHADUR RANA (CRICKET/ATHLETICS)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: BHIM THAPA (FOOTBALL)