India’s badminton sensation Saina Nehwal was declared the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for her stupendous show in 2009.

The Hyderabadi shuttler became the first Indian to have won a Super Series title when she triumphed in Indonesian event in June. She also broke into the top-10 zone this year.

India cricketer Virat Kohli was adjudged the Young Player of the Year while India’s Davis Cup squad was named as the Team of the Year.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, a Beijing Olympic gold medallist, was chosen as the International Sportsperson of the Year while the Lifetime Achievement award will be given posthumously to former BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur.

“These individuals have shown supreme grit and determination in their endeavours to excel. The awards are our way of providing further encouragement and support to these men and women,” Sundeep Misra, editor-in-chief of the Sports Illustrated India, said through a press release.

“Saina Nehwal’s achievements this year make her stand out like a colossus in the history of Indian sport. Breaking into the world’s top-10 in a sport dominated for years by the Chinese and Southeast Asians is no mean feat.

“Saina’s focus is her strength and it is this focus that saw her claim the Indonesian Super Series; an achievement worthy of being celebrated not just by Saina but the whole nation,” Misra added.

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