Indian hockey player Rani Rampal (Photo/ Hockey India Twitter)

New Delhi [India], Jan 30 : Hockey India on Thursday congratulated Indian women hockey team’s captain Rani Rampal for winning the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019 award.

Rampal, who was among the 25 athletes was nominated for this award from 25 sports, received a massive 199,477 votes.

With this, she became the first Indian athlete to win the award.

This was the 6th edition of the IWGA (International World Games Association) initiative that recognises and honours an athlete or a team for their outstanding performance or for their social commitment or particularly fair behavior.

International Hockey Federation (FIH) had recommended Rampal’s name for the award. She was instrumental in India qualifying for the first time in back-to-back Olympic Games.

Rampal thanked all her supporters, who voted for her, and also credited her teammates.

“I thank each and everyone for supporting me and ensuring they voted for me. I am overwhelmed with the number of people, Indian sports Icons and also celebrities who urged everyone to vote for me and in return ensured the focus remained on Indian Women’s Hockey,” Hockey India’s official website quoted Rampal as saying.

“If I have been able to come this far in the sport then it is because of my teammates too. I dedicate this award to Women’s Hockey and all those young aspiring women who want to chase their dreams, nothing is impossible if you believe in it,” she added.

Hockey India President, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, said Rampal winning the award is a ‘very proud moment for all of us’.

“I congratulate Rani for winning the prestigious World Games Athlete of the Year 2019 Award. This is a very proud moment for all of us. She is the first Indian athlete to win this award and through her achievements Rani has been able to draw a lot of attention towards women’s hockey. Many people are aware of the team’s recent accomplishments and I am confident this team is capable of winning larger goals and I wish Rani and the team best of luck this Olympic Year,” he said.

Rampal has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Padma Shri award.

Last year, the Acrobatic Gymnastics couple Mariia Chernova and Georgii Pataraia (Russia) won the title with 159,348 votes.


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