London: On a roll in the ongoing World Twenty20 where his team have entered the final, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has another reason to smile as he has won the 2014 Asian award for outstanding achievement in sports in London.
Dhoni, currently in Bangladesh leading India in the ICC World T20, was honoured on Friday night. Former England cricketer Ramprakash, who was to present the award at the glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, read out a message from Dhoni "dedicating the award" to his fans in Asia and all over the world.
The citation said, "Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the greatest finishers in limited-overs cricket. Under his captaincy, India have won numerous awards including the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the CB Series of 2007-08, the 2010 Asia Cup, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
"In 2013, Dhoni became the first captain to win all the three ICC trophies. Dhoni was ranked 16th on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes."
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of Poonawalla Group which includes Serium Institute of India, won the Asian Business Leader of the Year award for his outstanding contribution to the field of medicine. GP Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group presented the award to Poonawalla and hailed his achievements. Indian film and TV actor Irrfan Khan, the first Bollywood actor to star in two films that won the Academy Award for Best Director - Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Life of Pi (2012) - was chosen for the Asian outstanding achievement in Cinema award.
Venkatraman "Venki" Ramakrishnan, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas A Steitz and Ada E Yonath, received the Asian outstanding achievement award in Science and Technology.
Saying that he was touched by the award, Ramakrishnan said, "It is not often scientists are recognised by the society." He said the Asian diaspora generally prefer their children to go for studies which is "financially rewarding". Salil Shetty, Secretary General of the Amnesty International, received the Asian Public Servant of the Year award. Norah Jones, daughter of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, received the outstanding achievement in music award.
Ahmed Kathrada, who suffered imprisonment for 26 years along with Nelson Mandela in South Africa for his involvement in the anti-apartheid movement, received the Founders Award. Kathrada dedicated the award to "those comrades who did not live to see freedom in South Africa".
Other recipients of the awards were Jackie Chan, MBE (The Fellowship Award), Sir David Tang (Outstanding achievement in the arts), Gok Wan (outstanding achievement in Television award), Lui Che Woo (Entrepreneur of the Year Award).
Paul Sagoo, Founder of the Asian Awards, said the awards have come a long way since their inception in 2009. "My vision for these awards was simple - to create an event which would recognise exceptional achievement from those within the global Asian community, on a scale which had never been seen or done before."