Guwahati: The first-ever SAI Institutional Awards for Athletes and Coaches were given out by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday, in the presence of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Anurag Thakur and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik.

Secretary-Sports Sujata Chaturvedi, Director-General, Sports Authority  of India, Sandip Pradhan, as well as other officials from the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India were also present at the event.

A total of 162 athletes and 84 coaches were conferred awards in the Outstanding Award and Best Award category for their performance in national and international competitions, with cash awards amounting to a total of Rs 85.02 Lakh during the ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. 

The awards acknowledged the exceptional performance of the SAI athletes and  coaches under the various sports promotion schemes at the national and international level from 2016. The awards have been granted to the deserving candidates for the years 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. 

A total of 19 athletes and two coaches have been awarded from Assam. Some of them include Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing Athlete, NCoE Guwahati), Production Borgayary (Archery Athlete, NCoE LNIPE), Doni Neri (Karate Athlete, STC Naharlagun), Anand Chetri (Karate Athlete, STC Naharlagun, M. Sunita Chanu (Karate Coach, STC Naharlagun) and Tamas Sethi  (Taekwondo Coach, NCoE Guwahati).  

Praising the award winners, Anurag Thakur said, “I heartily congratulate all athletes and coaches who have been awarded today. Sports is very close to the heart of our Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi ji and taking his vision forward, a host of facilities are being extended to athletes. Every athlete is an inspiration for his generation.”  

Thakur also added the importance of sports being an integral part of the National Education Policy. “When the sporting achievements of a student are announced in his or her school, it inspires other students to look beyond just academics and include sports in their life. That is the power of an athlete. I am  also glad that sport has become an integral part of the National Education Policy and therefore is a part of every student’s life now,” Thakur added.  

The categories of awards were Outstanding Award (for National level  achievements) and Best Award (for International level achievements). The selection committee comprised senior SAI officials as well as eminent sports  persons, who streamlined the nominations received from the Regional Directors  of the various SAI National Centres of Excellence.  

“It’s a momentous occasion to see the awards given out in the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. I wish all the success to the champions. These awards are a way of assuring our athletes and coaches that the Sports Authority of India is always  there is to support them,” Minister of State Pramanik mentioned. The awardees have also been given a special tailor-made blazer along with a  citation.

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