Rahul Dravid and Ashwini Ponnappa were declared Best Sportspersons at the Sports Writers’ Association of Bangalore’s (SWAB) awards function at the KSBA hall.The two were among a host of active and retired athletes and administrators feted for their achievements by the organization.
Dravid was presented his award by chief guest and long-time India teammate V.V.S. Laxman, both of whom recalled the encouragement they had derived from seeing their names in print as young cricketers. “We used to cycle to newspaper offices to hand over the scores,” Dravid recollected. “It’s a great feeling for a young sportsperson to be featured in newspapers.” Despite the presence of visual media, Dravid felt that “at the end of the day, the written word lasts. I still treasure articles I had cut out as a kid.”
Golfer S. Chikkarangappa and cueist Varsha Sanjeev were declared the Best Junior Sportspersons. The Karnataka Senior swimming team and the National swimming coach Pradeep Kumar, meanwhile, emerged Team of the Year and Best Coach respectively.
G.R. Viswanath was presented an award for Lifetime Achievement, the former India great joking that this was likely to be his last such honour. S. Nataraj of the Karnataka State Billiards Association and S. Muralidhara of the Karnataka State Cricket Association were presented special awards in recognition of their work behind the scenes in administration.
SWAB president R. Kaushik welcomed the gathering and hailed the close ties between sportswriters and athletes in Bangalore.
Anil Kumble and Ashwini Nachappa also addressed the gathering.