The three finalists for Kerala's biggest sports award -Manorama Sports Star 2022 - instituted by Malayala Manorama in association with Santa Monica Study Abroad Private Limited, have been announced.
The three contenders picked by an expert panel are (in alphabetical order): Eldhose Paul (athletics), Sanju Samson (cricket), and Treesa Jolly (badminton).
They were selected on the basis of their performances during the last year at national and international levels as well as the votes polled by them in the SMS/online voting.
The sportsperson with the maximum number of votes will receive the Manorama Sports Star Award 2022 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.
Abdulla Aboobacker (athletics), Sahal Abdul Samad (football), and S L Narayanan (chess) were also in contention, but they could not make it to the final phase.
Badminton star H S Prannoy was the winner of the maiden Manorama Sports Star Award in 2017. Athlete Jinson Johnson and special cricketer Aneesh P Rajan were the winners in 2018 and 2019 respectively. In 2020-21, the Indian hockey team's former captain P R Sreejesh walked away with the coveted award.
Here’s a quick recap of each finalist’s performance in 2022:
In 2022, 26-year-old Eldhose became the first Malayali to win individual gold at the Commonwealth Games. He also became the first Indian triple jumper to enter the Worlds final and finished a creditable ninth with 16.79m. He was conferred the Arjuna award in 2022.
Sanju was part of the Indian senior team for the T20 International series against Sri Lanka, Ireland, and England in 2022. The 28-year-old wicket-keeper-batter also found a spot in the Indian team for the One-Day International series against West Indies, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. He also captained the India 'A' team and Rajasthan Royals, who finished second in the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League.
The ace shuttler grabbed two medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (silver in mixed team event and bronze in doubles) in 2022. Last year, she also made it to the All England semifinals partnering Gayatri Gopichand.