From Neeraj Chopra announcing himself on the big stage to Pankaj Advani reaching more milestones, 2018 was a memorable year for several Indian male athletes. Here are the nominees for the Sportsperson of the Year (Male) award.
Amit Panghal scripted a monumental upset to win the gold medal at the Asian Games, beating reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the 49kg final. It was India's only gold medal in boxing at the 2018 Asian Games and also their ninth gold in boxing across all Asian Games. Panghal also won a silver at the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year.
Bajrang Punia became the first Indian wrestler to win multiple medals at the World Championships after winning a silver in the 2018 edition. He also won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. In addition, he won titles at the Tbilisi Grand Prix and the Yasar Dogu tournament in Turkey. His only other loss in the year was against Japan's Daichi Takatani at the Asian Championships, a defeat he avenged at the Asian Games. He also rose to number one in the world rankings in November.
Neeraj Chopra won gold at both the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, besides winning a gold at the Savo Games in Finland. Chopra set a new national record at the Asian Games, where his best throw was at least 5.8 metres better than everyone else, the biggest gap between gold and silver in the history of the tournament.
Pankaj Advani won both the long and short format titles at the 2018 IBSF World Billiards Championships. With this, he took his tally of world titles to a scarcely believable 21. This was the fourth time that he won the title in both the formats, a world record.
Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
Most points, most raid points, most successful raids, most super 10s (10 points in a match) -- you name it and Sehrawat owned the record. When Bengaluru Bulls splashed upwards of Rs 50 lakh on him at the auction, most observers were left scratching their heads. But Sehrawat more than repaid the faith shown in him by another Sehrawat -- coach Randhir Singh -- by taking his team all the way to the Pro Kabaddi League title. In the process, he set a record for the most points (22) scored by a player in the final.
Shubhankar Sharma became the fifth, and youngest-ever, Indian golfer to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit. He also finished first in the Maybank Championship in Malaysia in February, besides reaching a career-high ranking of 64 during the first of two other top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour at the Indian Open in March.