Chess Grandmaster Koneru Humpy of ONGC has won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2021 Award. Mrs Humpy grabbed the title by securing more votes than her co-nominees -- sprinter Dutee Chand, shooter Manu Bhaker, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and Indian field hockey team captain Rani Rampal. The award was announced in a virtual award function held on 8 March 2021, the International Women's Day.
Mrs Humpy, an Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee, has been one of the strongest woman chess players in the world for over 15 years. She has inspired a generation of young players with her achievements and dedication to the game. She is the reigning World Rapid Women Chess Champion and currently ranked 3rd woman player in the world by FIDE Rating.
Her family is a pillar of strength for her achievements. Her father and Dronacharya Awardee Koneru Ashok has always been her coach. After marriage, her husband Anvesh played a supportive role as well. ONGC is proud to have had a part in her successes. Mrs Humpy had joined ONGC in the year 2006 as an HR Executive and is currently posted as Chief Manager at Rajahmundry.
Speaking about the title, Mrs Humpy said this award is precious, not only to her, but to the entire chess fraternity. “Being an indoor game, chess doesn’t get as much attention as sports like cricket in India. But with this award, I hope, the game will draw people’s attention,” she said. The Chess Grandmaster further added: “I think I could win over the years because of my willpower and confidence. A female player should never think about quitting her game. Marriage and motherhood are just a part of our life and they should not change the course of our lives.”
It is worth mentioning that ONGCians had also voted in large numbers after the information on her nomination for the award was shared in internal groups last month.