ESPN India Awards 2017: Who will win the Emerging Player of the Year?

ESPN.IN Awards: Emerging Player Of The Year (2:45)

Nominees for the Emerging Player Of 2017. (2:45)

From a 16-year-old giant-killer to India's youngest golfing star, here are ESPN India's nominees for the Emerging Player of the Year.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy

What they did in 2017

The precociously talented Satwiksairaj Rankireddy marked himself out as a talent to watch out for with some big wins as a 16-year-old in the 2016-17 edition of the Premier Badminton League. Along with his partner Chirag Shetty, Rankireddy made the quarterfinals at the Korea Open and French Open, in the process becoming the first Indian men's doubles pair to reach two Superseries quarterfinals.

In their own words

"Attack, attack, attack, that's our biggest strength as a pair and that's what we stick to. I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I said that we have one of the best attacking games in the world."

- Chirag Shetty on the pair's USP

Lakshya Sen

What they did in 2017

Touted as the next big star on the Indian badminton horizon, junior world No. 2 Lakshya Sen, who first catapulted to attention after winning the Wimbledon U-19 when he was just 13, had a fairly eventful year, winning two international series titles -- in Bulgaria and India. The Prakash Padukone Academy trainee followed it up with a silver medal at the Tata Open, after being stunned in three games by unseeded Thai Sitthikom Thammasin in the final.

In their own words

"When I'm at international tournaments, players of other countries know me by name. So in that way, a high ranking helps."

- Lakshya on his junior World No. 1 ranking in June 2017

Shapath Bhardwaj

What they did in 2017

There's little doubt double trap shooter Shapath Bhardwaj is a prodigious talent. He became the youngest member of the Indian contingent at the Shooting World Cup in Delhi in February, aged just 14. He won a bronze at a Junior World Cup in Porpetto, Italy the same year, and also reached his maiden senior World Cup final the same year, when he finished sixth in Larnaka, Cyprus. The 15-year-old Class 10 student is also the youngest athlete to be named in the government's Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme, which is meant to support medal prospects for the Olympics.

In their own words

"I haven't run into a talent like Shapath in my entire career. He will soon be unstoppable."

- Asian Games gold medallist Ronjan Sodhi on Shapath Bhardwaj.

Aditi Ashok

What they did in 2017

Nineteen-year-old Aditi Ashok became the first Indian golfer to qualify for the LPGA Tour Championships in November 2017. One among eight rookies to make the season-ending Championships, Aditi had impressed with a top-10 and starts at all five Majors. She made the cut in 13 of the 20 events on the LPGA last year, with tied 8th at Marathon Classic being her best result. She also made a triumphant return to the Ladies European Tour (LET), picking up her third title in 12 months, the Fatima Bin Mubarak Ladies Open. In her rookie year on the LET in 2016, she had two wins and seven top-10 finishes in the 13 events she participated.

In their own words

"When I was 12 years old, I didn't want to compete with the under-13s, I just wanted to go and compete with the under-18s. It was a case of always trying to be one step ahead because I wanted to challenge myself."

- Aditi Ashok on finding the LPGA Tour more challenging than the LET because of its stronger and deeper field

Dheeraj Singh

What they did in 2017

Dheeraj started in goal for India at their first outing in a FIFA competition of any level when the nation hosted the U-17 World Cup in October, and effected 17 saves in three league matches as India were beaten by USA, Ghana and Colombia. He also attracted attention for his powerful throws -- executed with a perfect liftoff -- that invariably went long into the opposition half. He played six matches for Indian Arrows in the I-League, keeping clean sheets in their first two wins, before moving to Scotland for trials with Motherwell at the start of 2018.

In their own words

"He was really the one who kept them [India] in the competition in so many ways. He is a grounded guy, very ambitious and he's the one who has epitomised India's World Cup."

- U-17 World Cup commentator John Helm, when picking his standout players of the tournament.

Arjun Maini

What they did in 2017

Only two Indians -- Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok -- have ever been contracted with and raced in Formula 1. Now Maini is bidding to be the third. This isn't a distant dream. Maini, who secured a podium finish at the GP 3 circuit in 2016, was announced as development driver for F1 team Haas. He's gone on to do a post-season test in Abu Dhabi for two F2 teams. All this while he is still just 20 years of age.

In their own words

"I'm very lucky to be in the position I'm in now. I think I'm a lot more prepared than Karun and Narain were at this stage."

- Arjun Maini after signing on as developmental driver for Haas