K. Premkumar, national long jump champion, and J. Hemashree, national sprinter in relay, were declared the best sportsman and sportswoman respectively.

K. Premkumar, National long jump champion, and J. Hemashree, National sprinter in relay, were declared the best sportsman and sportswoman respectively for the annual awards for excellence by the St. Joseph’s Sports Academy at the St. Joseph’s College premises on Sunday.

Premkumar created a national record of 8.09 metres, while Hemashree was part of the Indian relay quartet that scooped a bronze medal in the last Asian Junior meet.

Established in 1999 with an initial strength of 25 boys and 25 girls, the Sports Academy, funded by the St. Joseph’s College of Engineering, has trained over 250 athletes and the enjoys the distinction of having shaped 28 international stars like Gayathree, Hemashree and Deepika.

A total of Rs.1.60 lakhs was given away as cash prizes for the 32 achievers this year. Deepika received the highest prize of Rs.17000, followed by Dharn and Prem Kumar at Rs.14750 and Rs.11000 respectively.

The Academy also honoured fifty coaches with a cash award of Rs.10,000 each. The leading coaches included R.Chandran, L.Srinivasan, Sampath, Delliraj (Basketball), Maruthaiyam, Prakash, Samy (Volleyball), Ravichandran, Velayuthan (chess), Sivakumar (Coimbatore), Annadurai (Myladurai) and Suresh (Thanjavur) in athletics.

The award winners were felicitated by Dr. Babu Manoharan, Managing Director, St .Joseph’s College of Engineering.

Dr. C. Sylendra Babu, ADGP-Coastal Guard presided over the function along with Mr. M.Vijayakumar, Secretary, TNPSC, P.K.Behera, Additional Commissioner of Central Excise, Olympian V.Baskaran, and C.K.Valson, Secretary, AFI.