Hockey India today recommended players for this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award 2015. Sardar Singh has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awards. For the Arjuna Awards Hockey India has recommended Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh, VR Raghunath, P R Sreejesh, and SV Sunil while in the women category the recommendation has gone for Asunta Lakra, Deepika, Rani, Ritu Rani, Sushila Chanu and Vandana Katariya.
Speaking on the recommendations, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “The players that we have recommended for the Awards have proved themselves on the field through their play and through their representation in the National Teams have made India proud. They have won India accolades on the International platform and I am confident that India will stand up and give them their due credit by bestowing them with the awards that they so rightly deserve. Being bestowed with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or an Arjuna Award is each players dream and they all work extremely hard for this national recognition.”
Sardar Singh as the Captain of the Indian Men Hockey Team has lead the Indian team from the front and taken the Indian team to many successes on the International platform. He has to his credit in the last 12 months of winning the Gold Medal at the Asian Games last year and a direct qualification for the Team for the 2016 Olympic Games, in the same year the Indian Men Hockey Team won the Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games. This has all been followed by the recent third position that the team attained during the 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April. Sardar Singh was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2012.
Arjuna Awards nominee, VR Raghunath and Dharamvir Singh have both been an asset to the team and were part of the Asian Games winning Gold team alongwith the Silver at the Commonwealth Games and the third position at 24th Azlan Shah Cup this year. VR Raghunath, the solid defender and the centre of the Indian team defence is well known for his powerful drag flicks. Dharamvir in the midfield position is a pillar of strength to the Indian defenders and provides the forward line with opportunities with his professional skills.
PR Sreejesh, debuted in 2004 and considered India’s Best Goalkeeper and acknowledged on the International arena is known for the fantastic and critical saves for India and which helped India win important tournaments. No one can forget his saves during the Asian Games 2014 which helped India secure the Gold medal finish.
SV Sunil known in known for his speed and grit keep the opponents on their toes when he tears through the field with the ball and was also a part of the successful Gold winning team of the 17th Asian Games.
Danish Mujtaba has played over 130 international caps and has been instrumental in the forward line of the Indian Men Team. Danish was also a part of the winning squad at the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon where the team won gold medal and also XX Commonwealth Games where the team won Silver medal.
Arjuna Awards nominee in women’s category, Deepika an important player of the women team has been part of major tournaments since her debut and has since won various accolades where she performed to help her team won podium positions. She was part of Test Match Series team against Spain at Valencia this year and played an important role in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Delhi in March.
Ritu Rani is another talented women’s hockey player to emerge from the Shahbad stable, Haryana. From scoring goals for her side from the upfront to controlling midfield, she does it all with sheer perfection alongwith leading the team with elan. Ritu Rani has been captaining the Indian women hockey team and has spearheaded her team to win many international tournaments. Ever since 2009 she has been ensuring lead position for Team India in events held at The Netherlands, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand to name a few. Under her tenure, the team won four nation tournament at Germany, Junior Women Asia Cup, Bangkok and the FIH World League Round 2 held at New Delhi recently.
Asunta Lakra another player who the hockey fraternity remembers for her gutsy play on the field of hockey. Asunta also debuted in 2009 and has been with the team during series in Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand and was part of the silver winning team during the FIH Olympic Qualifying tournament in 2012.
Known for her agility on the field Vandana Katariya has added the much required depth in the line-up since she has started playing for India. She played a big role in the India win during the World League Round 2 held in Delhi this year. Vandana Katariya was recently awarded the Hockey India Women Player of the Year 2014.
Sushila Chanu another important player in the women’s team that continues to creates many winning opportunities for the team. Sushila was a part of the 17th Asian Games squad where the team won the Bronze alongwith the tournament win in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Delhi.
Rani who recently was adjudged the Player of the Year in the Times of India Awards 2015 has been the backbone of the team since she made it to the Indian team. Rani has won many accolades in her individual capacity for her consistent performance in Indian Women Hockey Team including being awarded the Junior Player of the Tournament at the 2013 FIH Junior Women World Cup.