Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian sportsperson to be nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award, but the celebrated wrestler admitted that she had never heard of the award.
"It's a matter of great pride for me to be nominated for such a prestigious award. Earlier, I had never heard of this award, but now that I have come to know of it, I feel very proud to be nominated among all time greats," Vinesh told IANS.
Known as the Oscars of sports, Laureus World Sports Awards annually honours individuals, teams and other sporting achievements.
The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.
The Haryana wrestler, who was stretchered off after dislocating her knee during the quarterfinals of 50kg freestyle event at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.
After recovery, Vinesh came back in 2018 with a bang winning three medals, and sounded her opponents a warning ahead of the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Reacting to the nomination, Vinesh told IANS that "It feels good to know that apart from our sporting achievements, fans are also concerned about our struggles while battling injuries and other off-field issues."
She hoped that her nomination motivates many more Indian athletes to work hard.
"I hope this nomination serves as a motivation to other athletes to do their best," she said.
The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.
Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
(With IANS inputs)
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