Bangalore, Sep 12: Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had combined together on so many occasions for India in Test cricket. But on Wednesday afternoon they came together again, not to wield their willows but for one of them to receive an award from the other.
Sports Writers' Association of Bangalore (SWAB) chose Laxman to hand over the "Best Sportsperson (Male)" award to Dravid on an afternoon which saw the coming together of many sports achievers under one roof.
Laxman was specially flown in from Hyderabad, by SWAB to present the award to his close buddy Dravid. When Laxman presented the award to "The Wall" it was a perfect picture. A few hours later, Laxman was back in Hyderabad. It was an invitation which he could not refuse.
The awards ceremony saw in attendance former Olympians, former cricketers, athletes, swimmers, billiards and snooker players, basketball players and other sports personalities from Karnataka. Former India captain Anil Kumble, former India batsman Brijesh Patel were also present.
Probably, for the first time this has happened. Laxman and Dravid, now retired from international duty, had many memorable associations on a cricket field but never did any one of them had a chance to honour the other in this way.
When SWAB contacted Laxman to be the chief guest and honour his former team-mate, the Hyderabadi obliged immediately.
Apart from Dravid, there were also achievers from other sports who were awarded for the year 2011 from SWAB.
Former India batsman GR Viswanath won the "Lifetime achievement" award while badminton player Ashwini Ponnappa was "Best Sportsperson (Female)". Ashwini, who is away playing abroad, could not make it and her father MA Ponnappa accepted the honour on her behalf.
"When R Kaushik (President of SWAB) contacted me to hand over the award to Rahul (Dravid), without second thought I said yes. It's great to be here today," said Laxman.
Speaking after receiving the "Lifetime Achievement" award, Viswanath said: "I have got C.K. Nayudu, Castrol lifetime achievements awards. But this one is special for me and probably the last lifetime award for me"
Dravid said: "It feels great to receive this award for my performances. I think this is going to be my last award as a player and it takes long time to get lifetime award which Vishy (Viswanath) has got today. Just a note of recognition goes a long way for a young sports person and the media here in Bangalore has done a fantastic job in focusing on local sports."
He added: Some of the journalists here have become more than a journalist (for me). They are like friends to me. The relationship between sports person and a sports journalist is tricky one. I think it's a relationship that confuses both parties. Nobody wants to cross the line, and it has been well maintained by both journalists and we people. I can easily say sports journalists here in Bangalore are my friends. It's an easy relationship to maintain."
SWAB awards are presented annually for the best sports achievers in Karnataka.
SWAB award winners for 2011
Best Sportsperson (Male): Rahul Dravid (cricket)
Best Sportsperson (Female): Ashwini Ponnappa (badminton)
Best Junior Sportsperson (Male): S Chikkarangappa (golf)
Best Junior Sportsperson (Female): Varsha Sanjeev (snooker)
Best Coach: Pradeep Kumar (swimming)
Team of the year: Karnataka swimming team
Lifetime achievement award: GR Viswanath (cricket)