Manorama Sports Star 2020-21: Three finalists announced

 Manorama Sports Star 2020-21
KV Athulya, P R Sreejesh and S Soorya.

The three finalists for Kerala's biggest sports award - Manorama Sports Star 2020-21 - instituted by Malayala Manorama in association with Santa Monica Study Abroad, have been announced.

The three final contenders determined via online/SMS voting are (in alphabetical order): K V Athulya (football), S Soorya (volleyball), and P R Sreejesh (hockey).

They were among the six shortlisted nominees for the prestigious award picked by a panel comprising Olympian T C Yohannan, writer and sports analyst N S Madhavan, and former cricketer and coach P Balachandran. Athulya, Soorya and Sreejesh made it to the final round after garnering maximum number of votes. Those who failed to make the cut are Sanju Samson (cricket), Sandra Babu (athletics), and Nihal Sarin (chess).

The first-prize winner will be given away the Manorama Sports Star Award and a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh while the second and third place winners will be awarded trophies and a purse of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

Ace shuttler H S Prannoy was the winner of the inaugural Manorama Sports Star Award in 2017. Athlete Jinson Johnson and special cricketer Aneesh P Rajan were the winners in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Here’s a quick recap of each finalist’s performance in 2020-21:

K V Athulya
Athulya has been a regular in the Kerala women's football team over the last decade. A native of Kakkodi in Kozhikode district, the 26-year-old defender was a key member of the Gokulam Kerala FC team which won the Indian Women’s League title in 2020. In fact, she was the only Keralite to have played for Gokulam in the league. She currently plays for the Ernakulam-based Don Bosco FA in the Kerala Women's League and the Indian Women’s League.

S Soorya
Soorya was an integral part of the Kerala team which clinched seven titles at the national level over the last three years. Hailing from Ezhukone in Kollam district, the central blocker has been playing for the national team since 2018. She was a member of the Indian team which won gold at the 2019 South Asian Games. An employee of the Kerala State Electricity Board, Soorya was the captain of Kerala team which won the Federation Cup volleyball championship in 2021.

P R Sreejesh
Sreejesh has been phenomenal under the bar for the Indian men's hockey team in the last couple of years. He was part of the Indian team that won bronze in the Tokyo Olympics to end the country's 41-year wait for an Olympic hockey medal. He won the prestigious World Games Athlete of the Year in 2021 and the FIH Player of the Year Awards (2020–21) for best male goalkeeper. Last year, the 33-year-old became the first male Keralite to win the Khel Ratna Award, highest sporting honour of India.

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