New Delhi [India]: Veteran hockey player and former captain Sardar Singh has been recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the Hockey India announced on Monday.
Sardar Singh made his debut for India in the junior team during India’s Tour to Poland in 2003-04.
In 2006, he graduated to the senior side making debut against Pakistan. Known for his terrific fitness levels not only in India but worldwide, Sardar was included in the 18-men FIH All Star team in 2010 and 2011.
Sardar was the youngest player to captain the Indian team when he led the side at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He has also received the Arjuna Award in 2012 and Padma Shri Award in 2015.
Other players namely SV Sunil, Dharamvir Singh and Deepika have been recommended for the Arjuna Award while Dr. RP Singh and Sumrai Tete have been recommended for the Dhyan Chand Award.
Coaches Sandeep Sangwan and Romesh Pathania are recommended for the Dronacharya Award.
Former Indian field hockey player Dr. R.P. Singh represented the country during the 1986 and 1990 World Cup’s. He continues to play a significant role towards promoting Hockey and is considered as one with a sharp eye to identify talent.
Sumrai Tete, a former Indian women’s team captain and coach, was also a member of the gold medal winning India women’s national field hockey team at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Speaking on the recommendations, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “We are delighted to recommend the Hockey players who have proved their mettle against all odds on the turf and displayed extraordinary performances in India and abroad. With their passion and dedication for the sport, these players have done India proud by earning several accolades internationally. I truly believe they deserve every recognition and appreciation for the efforts they have put in bringing pride to the nation. While for every hockey player being conferred with the most coveted Dhyan Chand Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardand Arjuna Award is a dream that further inspires them, being conferred with the Dronacharya Award is the highest form of recognition and respect for every coach.”
SV Sunil has now become a vital cog for the senior men’s team after having stellar performances in India’s recent successes.
Considered to be one of the fastest men on the pitch in the world, Sunil has also served as the team’s vice-captain. The Karnataka-born forward made his senior international debut in the 2007 Asia Cup in Chennai.
He was also a part of the team that won the silver medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2008. The 2011 Champion’s Challenge was an early high point in his career in which he scored three goals. Sunil also received the Asian Player of the Year Award 2016 by Asian Hockey Federation.
With an international career spanning over a decade, Deepika’s illustrious career includes appearances at the Commonwealth Games, World Cup as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics, a first time since 36 years in the history of women’s hockey in the country.
Deepika was also instrumental in India’s maiden win at the 4th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy last year.
Likewise, Dharamvir Singh too has been an asset to the team and was part of the Asian Games Gold medal winning team along with the Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2014 and the Bronze medal at 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2015.
As a midfielder, Dharamvir has been a pillar of strength to the Indian defenders and provides the forward line with opportunities with his exemplary skill set.
Meanwhile, Sandeep Sangwan and Romesh Pathania have served Indian hockey with diligence and hard work in various capacities. Sangwan is best known for serving as one of the Coaches of the Senior Men’s Team while Romesh Pathania also served as one of the Coaches of the Junior Women’s team.(ANI)