The six finalists in line to receive the Malayala Manorama Sports Star 2017 award have been selected. Basil Thampi (cricket), P U Chitra (athletics), Y Mohammad Anas (athletics), H S Prannoy (badminton), K P Rahul (football) and Sanju V Samson (cricket) are the six picked by the panel for the biggest such sports award in the state, instituted by Malayala Manorama in partnership with Santa Monica Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd.
The panel, which included T C Yohannan, N S Madhavan, Xavier Pius and Dr K N Raghavan, pointed out that the selection of the finalists was a neck and neck battle at the end of a year which saw many Keralite sportspersons perform admirably on the world stage. The panel took into account the achievements and performance of various athletes and their standing on the world stage. Nihal Sarin (chess), Anas Edathodika (football), Sajan Prakash (swimming), T Gopi (athletics), Sachin Baby (cricket), Haadin Bava (tennis) and Jisna Mathew (athletics) were also in contention.
Now it's up to you the readers of Manorama to pick the Sports Star 2017. SMS lines are open from Wednesday. Readers can select the Malayala Manorama Sports Star 2017 by typing BST followed by a space and then your answer option and send to 56767123 (SMS rates apply). For example, if your option is E then type BST space E
Format to vote for each finalist:
1. Basil Thampi: BST space A
2. P U Chitra: BST space B
3. Y Mohammad Anas: BST space C
4. H S Prannoy: BST space D
5. K P Rahul: BST space E
6. Sanju V Samson: BST space F
For online voting long on to: www.manoramaonline.com/sportsstar
Need help making your pick? A quick recap of each star's performance from 2017 (in alphabetical order).
Basil Thampi (cricket)
Basil was in the India squad for the T20I series against Sri Lanka. This was just reward for a season in which he starred for the Gujarat Lions in his debut IPL season, claiming the Emerging Player of the Season award. He took nine wickets in four Ranji Trophy games in a successful season for Kerala.
P U Chitra (athletics)
Chitra won gold in 1,500m at the Asian Indoor Games held at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and also reigned supreme at the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar. At the Inter-University Athletics Meet in Guntur, she claimed gold in the 1,500m with a new record.
Y Mohammad Anas (athletics)
Anas bagged gold in 400m at the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar. He capped it off with a double by winning gold in the 4x400m relay. He also struck gold at the third leg of the Asian Athletics Grand Prix circuit. Anas set a national record in the 400m en route to qualifying for the World Championships in London.
H S Prannoy (badminton)
Parnnoy won the US Open Grand Prix Gold. Amid a sensational run of form, Prannoy's highlight of the year was defeating both reigning Olympic and world champion Chen Long and former world No. 1 and Olympic silver medalist Lee Chong Wei at the Indonesia Open Superseries, en route to the semifinals.
K P Rahul (football)
The lone Malayali in the Indian squad at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, making him the first from the state to play at any FIFA World event. Scored in the 2-0 win against hosts Italy in a practice match ahead of the U-17 World Cup.
Sanju V Samson (cricket)
Sanju captained the Board President's XI against Sri Lanka, scoring a century. The stylish strokeplayer had a commendable Ranji season with two tons and three half-centuries. He also scored a hundred and two fifties for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2017.