Saturday, May 9, 2015


Hyatt Regency glittered with glory on 7th may 2015. And why not, the best of India’s sporting heroes were present, all under one roof-- a rare occasion. It was an evening to celebrate Indian sports and the sportspersons, to acknowledge their achievements, to make them feel worthy of who they are and to further inspire them and all other Indian athletes to be the best in the world.

I cannot thank the Times group enough for the Bollywood-ish award function which was so glamorous.  It was a pleasure to see the players styled up, looking fantabulous, beautiful than any of the top actors.
Gorgeous Dipika Pallikal- TOISA Squash Player of the Year

With Gaurav Kapoor as the host of the evening, awards were presented in various categories of sports including Badminton, Athletics, Boxing, Shooting, Golf, Chess, Squash, Billiards, Wrestling, Football and Table Tennis to name a few.

Each sport had two categories- People’s Choice and Jury’s Choice. In Table Tennis, the Jury’s Choice award- TOISA Table Tennis Player of the Year was awarded to my favourite Sharath Kamal and People’s Choice went to the only woman nominee Ankita Das. Everything was perfect about the evening; just that Sharath Kamal was missed-he’s currently in Germany nursing a leg injury.

Sharath Kamal- TOISA Table Tennis Player of the Year

Badminton queen Saina Nehwal was awarded the TOISA Youth Icon of the Year trophy by the former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly akka dada.
Sourav Ganguly waiting for Saina Nehwal to collect her award

Magnificent Mary won the Boxer of the year Award and Panjak Advani won the Sportsperson of the Year- Popular Choice Award which along with the trophy included a surprise gift- Mahindra Scorpio Car!
Pankaj Advani with the surprise!

TOISA Trophy- studded with Swarovski 

 Apart from India’s current top athletes, the highlight of the evening were the Sporting Legends - Milka Singh, Zafar Iqbal, Saurav Ganguly and Col Rajyawardhan Rathod to name a few. 
But the star of the evening was the legendary Carl Lewis- the Sportsperson of the Century making his presence in the most inspiring way ever. He had a special message for India-“ Stop thinking that you are not going to be as good as others. You are a billion people. You want me to believe that you cannot find one fast guy, one fast girl? Athletics is perfection and there is a model of perfection. So, shoot for the model. India is great in cricket because you have a history and you believe you are the best in cricket. Its about confidence. There are too many people to not have talent. It;s just that they talk themselves down.”
Carl Lewis

Milkha Singh expressed his desire to see India winning a medal at the Olympics, which he missed by a narrow margin.  The passion in his voice speaks volumes about his commitment and dedication to sport. He was awarded the Life Time Achievement Award by the legend Carl Lewis.

He was udoubtedly the man in demand, also being requested by The Miss.India 2014, Afreen Vas, for a quick selfie :-)

The Flying Sikh and Miss.India!
Some women achievers, the unsung heroes of Indian sport. We salute you all!!!




An evening with so many achievers around, you only feel inspired further to serve the nation and give in your best in whatever you do.

The TOISA winners

Myself with Sindhu & Amalraj- such grounded players

Panel discussion on the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics 

Such awards are necessary, especially in a country like India, where apart from a few, sport is not considered a valuable career option. Such a motivation only supports your decision to do sport and applauds your dedication, hard work  & commitment. When the society acknowledges your efforts it feels great, because at the end of the day you are all alone in your quest for gold, because the country
is obsessed with engineers and doctors.

Thank you TOISA.


  1. love your blog neha ! keep it up!!

  2. Woww Neha! Very well expressed. It was indeed a wonderful evening and reading you post brought the memories alive. Keep writing more...All the Best! :-)

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