Chess player Koneru Humpy is BBC Indian sportswoman

Wednesday 10th March 2021 05:51 EST

Indian chess player Koneru Humpy has won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year award for 2020, following a public vote. The 33-year-old beat sprinter Dutee Chand, airgun shooter Manu Bhaker, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and India hockey captain Rani Rampal to the award.

Humpy is the World Rapid Chess champion having won the title in December 2019 after a two-year maternity break. In 2020, she won the Cairns Cup, an elite-level tournament for the top female players. "Being an indoor game, chess doesn't get as much attention as sports like cricket gets in India. But with this award, I hope the game will draw people's attention," she said after winning the honour. Born in Andhra Pradesh, Humpy was identified as a chess prodigy at an early age by her father. She lived up to the reputation by becoming the youngest grandmaster, aged 15, in 2002 - the record was broken by China's Hou Yifan in 2008. She received the Arjuna Award, one of India's top sporting honours, in 2003, and India's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri, in 2007. The BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year initiative was launched in 2019 to celebrate female achievements in sport and highlight the issues and challenges faced by women and girls in India.

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