Kochi: The finalists for Kerala’s biggest sports award - Manorama Sports Star 2019 - instituted by Malayala Manorama in association with Santa Monica Study Abroad Private Ltd, have been announced.
The three final contenders based on the result of the first phase of SMS and online voting are: Nihal Sarin (chess), Chitharesh Natesan (bodybuilding), and Anish P Rajan (disability cricket).
The winner will be determined after the second and final phase of the online/SMS voting which has already begun.
Nihal, Chitharesh, and Anish were among the six sportspersons shortlisted for the prestigious award by an expert panel comprising Olympian T C Yohannan, writer and sports analyst N S Madhavan, and former cricketer and coach P Balachandran.
V K Vismaya (athletics), Sanju V Samson (cricket), and Ashique Kuruniyan (football) were also in contention.
The sportsperson with the maximum number of votes will receive the Manorama Sports Star 2019 award and a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh. The second and third prize winners will be awarded trophies and a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively.
As many as 10 lucky persons who take part in the selection process will be given away Rs 10,000 each.
Badminton star H S Prannoy and Asian Games gold medallist Jinson Johnson were the winners of the Manorama Sports Star award for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
A year to remember
2019 was a great year for chess prodigy Nihal. In June, he became the world's third youngest player to cross 2600 Elo points on FIDE's rating list, accomplishing this feat at the age of 14.
Anish was the lone Kerala player in the 20-member India squad which lifted the inaugural T20 Physical Disability World Cricket Championship held in England in 2019.
Chitharesh created history when he became the first Indian to win a Mr Universe (Pro) title. The 33-year-old emerged the champion in the 90kg category at the 11th World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship(WBPF) hosted by South Korea in November 2019.
Format to vote:
A. Nihal Sarin: MSA<space>A
B. Anish P Rajan: MSA<space>B
C. Chitharesh Natesan: MSA<space>C
The SMS should be sent to 56767123 (charges applicable) in the prescribed format. For example, if your pick is the first person on the list, the format should be MSA<space>A.
For online voting, log on to www.manoramaonline.com/sportsawards