Abhinav Bindra, one of the 14 members of the jury for the first ESPN India Awards, on his voting choices:
I thought the nominations were pretty good, well-researched and covered all kinds of sports and all the relevant performances of the year. I think the research which went behind it was pretty comprehensive.
For me, selecting the winners was all to do with what the breakthrough performances were, what the field of play was as well, and that to me was an important aspect. The level of competition was important to judge because sometimes you have to go into the details of what the performances have been to really understand the magnitude of the achievement.
I think both Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu had a fantastic year, and that made them stand out in the Sportsperson of the Year nominations. I think for me, Srikanth was somebody who made a breakthrough. Sindhu was already well established and had won the Olympic silver medal -- she's already right there. For me, he [Srikanth] made some really good breakthroughs and that was fantastic to see.
I think there are lots of breakthrough performances coming through in shooting as well, with lots of younger people from the juniors coming up with good performances. However, it's a long year ahead, and the real competitions are yet to come -- the World Championships in August-September are probably the most important, and then you also have the Olympic qualification, where the quota places start. That's where the real test lies, and also the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games will be interesting and important, because it's an important step to compete at these multi-discipline events and it will give you the exposure going into the Olympics cycle. It has been a great start, with young people doing really well, but one has to be patient with them and give them time to consolidate on the gains that they have already made. I wish them luck for the big ones, which are coming up.
Personally, to me, awards didn't matter. They were not so important for me. Having said that, people are different and some people may get motivated by them. For me, the biggest motivation was to do well in competitions and anything else was just a byproduct of that. The goal always remained to do well in competitions -- that was the biggest award and the greatest acknowledgement one could get.
(As told to Debayan Sen)
Abhinav Bindra: India's first individual Olympic gold medallist and its most successful shooter, with a competitive career spanning over 15 years. Since retiring in 2016, Bindra has worked with government and non-government bodies in review and policy programmes and set up cutting-edge sports science centres in two cities.