The third edition of the Hockey India Annual Awards was held in New Delhi where current and yesteryear players were felicitated for their contribution to Indian hockey. An evening that glittered with some of the top names from the Indian hockey fraternity.
President of Hockey India, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad opened the ceremony by welcoming everyone and stated that the national body is on a mission to provide the best infrastructure and environment for the athletes to develop and prosper. The ceremony began by felicitating Deep Grace Ekka, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam and Savita with the Milestone Award for completing 200 international caps for India, while Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Nikki Pradhan were awarded for reaching 100 caps for India.
Later, Manpreet Singh and Rani Rampal were awarded Rs 10 lakhs each for winning the FIH Men’s Player of the Year 2019 and World Games Athlete of the Year 2019 respectively.
Manpreet sounded ecstatic while speaking to the media: “It was a great year for our team, and I would like to dedicate this award to my teammates and coaches, without whom, I would not be holding this trophy. I would also like to thank Hockey India for their continued support, and I hope this Award will motivate, not only myself but more players to give their best for the country and bring more laurels.”
The eventful day ended with the most awaited announcement for the Hockey India Dhruv Batra Player of the Year Awards for women and men, and the Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award. The most coveted trophies of the evening went to women’s team captain Rani Rampal and men’s team captain Manpreet Singh, the lifetime achievement was given to 1964 Tokyo Olympic gold-medallist Harbinder Singh. Mr Singh is one of the most respected people in the hockey fraternity and his association with the sport has been for around 60 years.
Post receiving the award, Rani dedicated it to her amazing team: “I have always strived to work hard for my team and my country and to have been recognised for doing the thing that I love doing the most, it gives me immense happiness. I would like to thank my teammates, Coaches, family and Hockey India for always being a huge supporter, and being the guiding light. I dedicate this award to my team.”
FIH and IOA President, Narinder Batra showered praise on both men’s and women’s teams for a great year. “Hockey has always been a very important part of India’s sporting history, and I am delighted to see that the game still has a high following in our country across states and regions. I am really proud of the players of the Indian Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams, who have consistently been performing for the country. Today is a day when we salute your hard work and efforts, and I congratulate all the winners in advance for putting in exceptional performances last year,” he said.