Indian badminton sensation PV Sindhu added another feather to her cap as she was named the ‘Most Improved Player’ by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) during the season-ending awards at the Players’ Reception and Gala Dinner in Dubai on Monday. The 21-year-old became the first recipient of this award that was inaugurated this year after her stunning performances throughout the season.
“I didn’t expect to get this award, so I’m excited and happy,” said the Rio Olympic silver medallist after receiving the award from HE Dawood Al Hajri, President of UAE Table Tennis and Badminton Association.
The young Indian qualified for the prestigious World Superseries Finals for the first time after a stellar season that saw her clinch the Olympic silver, the China Open Superseries Premier and the Malaysian Masters Grand Prix title besides reaching the final of the Hong Kong Open Superseries.
“It’s good to be here in Dubai. It’s my first time at the Dubai World Superseries Finals,” the Pullela Gopichand protégé said about her experience at the gala event for the first time.
Meanwhile, the men’s singles World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei was conferred the BWF Male Player of the Year award. The Malaysian had captured the Rio silver medal besides annexing three Superseries titles. The Female Player of the Year award went to Japan’s numero uno women’s doubles teammates Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, who were jointly honoured.
The Japanese women are the reigning Olympic gold medallists, and also won four Superseries titles this year.
Among other recipients was 19-year-old Chen Qingchen of China, who grabbed the Eddy Choong Award for Most Promising Player of the Year. The teen had stormed through the doubles circuit, winning as many as eight titles.
In the ‘Best Dressed Player’ section, Denmark’s Rio Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen and Malaysia’s Woon Khe Wei were the winners in the male and female categories respectively.
The Olympic gold medallists across all five categories were felicitated with a gold shuttle and a watch.
The award ceremony was held ahead of the season-ending Superseries Finals that starts tomorrow. PV Sindhu begins her campaign against the second seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.