Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal has been nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by Hockey India. Her teammates Vandana Katariya and Monika were nominated for the Arjuna award, as was Harmanpreet Singh from the men’s team.
Hockey India recommended legends RP Singh and Tushar Khandker for the Major Dhyan Chand award for lifetime achievement and Coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania have been nominated for the Dronacharya award.
Rampal, who was the first India from India to be named World Games Athlete of The Year 2019, has previously won the the Arjuna Award in 2016 and the Padma Shri award in 2020. The period considered for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019.
Hockey India President Mohd. Mustaque Ahmad said: “Sardar Singh was the last hockey player to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
“Rani has set new benchmarks in women’s Hockey, and we at Hockey India, feel she is very deserving of the top award. We are happy to endorse Vandana Katariya, Monika and Harmanpreet Singh for the Arjuna award for their excellent performances in 2019.
“RP Singh and Tushar Khandker nominated for the Major Dhyan Chand award for Lifetime Achievement and Coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania nominated for the Dronacharya award have contributed to Indian Hockey in their respective roles as players, administrators and coaches. They contribute to help build the sport and achieve our goals. It is with pride and happiness that Hockey India recommends these names for the prestigious National Awards.”
In the last three years, Rampal captained and played crucial roles in taking India to historic victories in the Asia Cup 2017, silver at the 2018 Asian Games and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers by scoring the deciding goal that helped in India’s qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
Meanwhile, seasoned campaigners Katariya and Monika have played key roles in India’s wins in 2019 which include the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event and the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar.
Likewise, Harmanpreet Singh also stood out for the men’s team with his performances in the FIH Series Finals in Odisha. Harmanpreet was also part of the Indian team that won the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers against Russia last year.