From Amit Panghal's silver medal at the boxing world championships to Sunil Chhetri becoming the country's most capped footballer, 2019 was a memorable year for several Indian male athletes. Here are the nominees for the Sportsperson of the Year (Male) award.
Amit Panghal became the first Indian male boxer to reach the final of the World Championships when he won a silver at the 2019 edition in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Earlier in the year, in what was his first competition in the Olympic 52kg weight division, Panghal had won a gold medal at the Asian Championships.
Bajrang Punia won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan -- his third medal at the world event. No Indian wrestler has medalled more often at the World Championships. The year also saw Punia win gold medals at the Dan Kolov, Asian Championships, Ali Aliev and Yasar Dogu tournaments. He ended the year ranked world number 2 in the UWW rankings for the 65kg division.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran rose from 68th in the world rankings at the start of 2019 to reach a peak of world number 24 -- the highest an Indian player has ever been ranked -- in May. Over the course of the year he registered several wins over top players including victories over former Asian champion Jeong Sangeun, world number 16 Marcos Freitas, youth Olympic gold medallist Wong Chun Ting and current world number 5 Tomokazu Harimoto.
Saurabh Chaudhary started 2019 winning the 10m air pistol gold at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi -- an achievement that earned India a quota spot for the 2020 Olympics. Chaudhary would add to that medal haul through the year, winning a total of five gold medals (two in the men's 10m air pistol and another three in the 10m air pistol mixed team event). He also won a 10m air pistol bronze medal at the World Cup in Rio.
Sunil Chhetri might have turned 35 in 2019 but he remains a critical element in the Indian team, becoming the most capped player for India with 115 appearances. Chhetri scored 50% of India's goals in 2019, scoring against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup and also netting India's opener against Oman in the World Cup qualifiers. He also went past Lionel Messi (70 goals) in the international goal-scoring charts among active players. He has now scored 72 goals from 115 games.
Related: Sunil Chhetri - India's Mr Football
B Sai Praneeth ended 2019 as the highest ranked Indian men's singles player at world number 11. His year was capped by his run at the World Championships in Basel where he won a bronze medal, the first by a men's singles player since Prakash Padukone 36 years ago. He also reached the final of the Swiss Open and was awarded the Arjuna Award last year.