Kottayam: Footballer C. K. Vineeth won the Star of 2016 award instituted by Malayalam Manorama and Kosamamttam Finance to honor the best Keralite sportsperson of last year.
Vineeth received the highest number of votes (45.17 percent) to emerge winner in an online vote. The award carries 10 sovereigns of gold.
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Vineeth, who won the hearts of football fans in the state with his superlative performance for Kerala Blasters in the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), is a native of Koothuparamba in Kannur.
Blasters were languishing at the bottom of the points table when Vineeth joined them after fulfilling his club commitments for Bengaluru FC in the AFC cup. He made an impact immediately, scoring goals at will, and propelling the Yellow Brigade to the final of the tournament.
One of the few Malayalees to play the AFC Cup tournament, Vineeth has also been his sparkling self during Bengaluru’s FC’s fairy tale run into the final of the prestigious Asian club championship.
The other contenders were Indian hockey team captain Olympian P. R. Sreejesh, cricketer Karun Nair, who scored a triple century in Test against England, Jisna Mathew, the youngest in the Indian athletic contingent to the Rio Olympics, and P. C. Thulasi, the first female Malayalee shuttler to win the national badminton singles title.
In the online vote, Vineeth finished ahead of Sreejesh (25.18 percent), Karun (11.7) Thulasi (9.7), and Jisna (8.25).
From among those who voted for Vineeth, ten persons will be given a cash prize of Rs 10,000 via a lucky draw.