The state government of Karnataka has selected a few sportspersons from the coast for awards. Prashanth Rai(kabaddi), Ashwal Rai (volleyball) and Nithin Poojary (netball) have been chosen for Karnataka Ekalavya Award and four others, including Kambala jockey Gopala Naika, have been selected for Kreeda Ratna Award.
Prasanth Kumar Rai is an Indian professional Kabaddi player from Olamogaru village of Puttur. The son of Seetharam Rai and Sathyavathi had studied at St Philomena College, Puttur, and was attracted to Kabaddi during his college days. He was part of the college team that won the championship for three consecutive years. The Pro-Kabaddi player represents Patna Pirates and is known for the ‘Running Hand Touch’ move.
Ashwal Rai hails from Achinadka in Belthangady and captains the Indian Railway volleyball team. He is the son of retired ASI Sanjeeva Rai and Vani S Rai. He is currently working for the railways in Hubballi. He studied at SDM College, Ujire, and started playing volleyball under coach Ramesh. He was later trained by coach Narayan Alva from Alva’s College. At the recent volleyball championship held in Japan, Ashwal had performed extremely well in which India’s position was at 9. He secured a gold medal at the South Asian Games 2019 held in Nepal.
Vice-captain of the netball national team, Nithin Poojary, hails from Sorangadamoole village in Bantwal. He is the son of Janardhan Poojary and Chandravati Bakilaguttu. He is currently playing at the National Netball Championship in Delhi. As the vice-captain, he emerged as a champion at the Asian Championship in Malaysia.
Kambala jockey Mandarthi Shiroor Muddumane Gopala Naika has been selected for the Kreeda Ratna award. The native of Udupi has won several races over the last 11 years. He is the son of Kushta Naika and Buddi Bai and studied up to Class 7. In modern Kambala, he is the jockey for buffaloes belonging to 11 owners and in traditional Kambala, he participates for buffaloes of 15 owners. Between 2010 and 2021, he has won 97 first prizes, 45-second prizes in modern Kambala, 305 first prizes and 265-second prizes in traditional Kambala.
Meanwhile, Kiran Kumar (ball badminton) Laxmi Radekar (wrestling), Deeksha (kho-kho) from Alva’s Education Foundation Moodbidri, have secured with Kreeda Ratna awards.
Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Trust, Ujire, and Mangaluru Bala Anjaneya Gymnasium have won the sports promoters’ award.