Goa's chess ace Bhakti Kulkarni has been chosen for the state government's Dilip Sardesai sports excellence award this year as Chief Minister Digambar Kamat refuted claims that the award, instituted four years ago, was losing popularity.
Kulkarni (19), who won the junior Asian chess championship last month, will be awarded a bronze plaque of the late cricketer who hailed from Kamat’s constituency of Margao, 30 km from here, and a cash prize of Rs.2 lakh at a ceremony later this week.
Kulkarni was only one of the two persons who had applied for the award.
When asked if receipt of only two applications for consideration spoke of a decline in the popularity of the award which was instituted only four years ago, Kamat said: “This award is only for those who have shone in the international arena."
Indian football team defender Mahesh Gawli and medio Climax Lawrence, both local sports celebrities, won the inaugural and the second edition of the award, while swimmer Talasha Prabhu won the third edition of the award.
Sardesai was part of the Indian cricket team from 1961 to 1972 and was dubbed as the "renaissance man" of Indian cricket.