The growing stature of the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams has nobody in doubt but is surely make other top hockey playing nations wary of them. The presence of as many as six Indian players among the nominations for the FIH Hockey Star Awards 2020-21 only reinforce the fact that our men and women hockey teams are well on their way to emerging as consistent world-beaters.
Talented drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh has been nominated for the FIH Men Player of the Year Award, but it won’t be a piece of cake for the Punjab lad as he has nominated alongside three Australian players and two Belgium players. His biggest competition will come from Belgium’s prolific drag-flicker Alexander Hendrickx, exciting Australian forward Tim Brand (AUS), and Belgium defender Arthur van Doren.
Gurjit Kaur has been nominated for the FIH Women Player of the Year Award alongside three Dutch players – Eva de Goede, Frédérique Matla, Maria Verschoor and the Argentine duo of Agustina Albertarrio and Agustina Gorzelany.
‘The Wall’ of the Indian men’s hockey team PR Sreejesh has been nominated for the FIH Men Goalkeeper of the Year Award and he can back himself to win the covered award notwithstanding the fact he will up against the likes of Australian goalie Andrew Charter and Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
India’s Savita Punia, who was a revelation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has been nominated for the FIH Women Goalkeeper of the Year Award and she is expected to face stiff resistance from Great Britain’s Maddie Hinch and Argentinian goalie Belén Succi. Succi played her part in Argentina’s silver medal-winning effort at the Tokyo Olympics, while Hinch played a pivotal role in Great Britain bagging a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Indian’s young midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad has been nominated for the second consecutive for the FIH Men’s Rising Star of the Year Awards alongside South Africa’s Mustaphaa Cassiem and New Zealand’s Sean Findlay. Speedy Indian women hockey team forward Sharmila Devi has been nominated for the FIH Women’s Rising Star of the Year Awards alongside Great Britain’s Fiona Crackles and Argentina’s Valentina Raposo.
That’s not all – Indian women hockey team coach till the Tokyo Olympics Sjoerd Marijne and Indian men’s team coach Graham Reid have been nominated for the FIH Women and Men Coach of the Year Awards.
The winners of the FIH Hockey Stars Awards are expected to be announced in late September or early October.