Sunil Chhetri was awarded the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year prize by the federation here on Thursday. The Indian captain had won this award in 2007 and 2011 also.
Speaking at the ceremony organised by FICCI, Chhetri reserved a special mention for his former strike partner Bhaichung Bhutia. “Without my former captain Bhaichung, this would not have been possible.”
Chhetri’s current strike partner Jeje Lalpekhlua of Dempo FC won the Emerging Player of the Year award. Manipuri midfielder Oinam Bembem Devi was given the Woman Player of the Year prize.
Mizoram earned the honour of being recognised as the state with the best grassroots development programme. Jamshedpur-based Tata Football Academy (TFA) received an award for a long-time contribution to Indian football.
In addition to the football awards, the FICCI sports awards were given away on Thursday as well.
Archer Deepika Kumari was recognised as the sportsperson of the year. The breakthrough sports personality prize was won by P.V. Sindhu for her wonderful performance at the BWF World Championships in Guangzhou last year.
A lifetime achievement award was also given away, with Rahul Dravid being the recipient. Baldev Singh from hockey walked away with the best coach prize.
AIFF awards: Player of the Year: Sunil Chhetri; Woman Player of the Year: Oinam Bembem Devi; Emerging Player of the Year: Jeje Lalpekhlua; Best grassroots development programme: Mizoram FA; Award for long-time contribution to Indian football: Tata Football Academy.
Best Referee: Pratap Singh; Best Assistant Referee: Biplab Poddar.
FICCI awards: Sportsperson of the Year: Deepika Kumari (archery); Coach of the Year: Baldev Singh (hockey); Breakthrough Sportsperson of the Year: P.V. Sindhu (badminton); Comeback of the Year: Rani Rampal (hockey); Paralympics Sportsperson of the Year: Devender Jhajharia (javelin).
Team of the year: Indian women’s archery team.
Lifetime Achievement award: Rahul Dravid.