India’s Vivek Sagar Prasad said winning the FIH Rising Star of the Year award will push him to work hard and achieve greater feats in the coming times.

Back in January 2018, when 17-year-old Prasad was given the opportunity to represent the Indian men’s hockey team in a four-nation tournament in New Zealand, he became the second youngest player ever to represent the senior team.

Two years on, the youngster who was awarded the FIH Rising Star of the Year 2019 award on Monday, has transformed into one of the best upcoming players in the world.

“I think there is no better feeling than representing your country at the highest level,” he said.

“When I was younger, I would be more interested in badminton and chess, but as things turned out, I slowly shifted to hockey, and I can’t thank my family, coaches and friends enough for what they have done for me. This award is a huge recognition, and I just want to make sure that I keep working hard, maintain my focus, and bring laurels for the country,” added Vivek during his team’s national camp here ahead of two Hockey Pro League matches against Australia.

Having scored India’s opening goal against world champions Belgium at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium during the second match on February 9, Vivek’s confidence was palpable during training.

“I think I was just focusing on doing my basics right. There was an opportunity to go forward as well, now and then, so I utilized that during the first goal. I think we had a few opportunities throughout the match, but we couldn’t convert,” he said.

“However, personally, I think I was able to perform well because I was playing my natural game according to my strengths,” he added.