Hockey India on Tuesday announced the nomination of India captain Rani Rampal for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award while her teammates Vandana Katariya and Monika, along with men’s team drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh are in the running for the Arjuna award.
For the Major Dhyan Chand award for lifetime achievement, HI recommended former India stalwarts RP Singh and Tushar Khandker. Coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania have been nominated for the Dronacharya award.
The period taken into account for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019.
During this time, Rampal has led her side to historic victories in the Asia Cup 2017, silver at the 2018 Asian Games and played a critical role in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers by scoring the deciding goal that helped in India’s qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Indian women’s team also climbed to a career-best FIH World Ranking of No 9. After becoming the first from India to be named World Games Athlete of The Year 2019, Rampal has also received the Arjuna Award in 2016 and the Padma Shri award in 2020.
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.
Harmanpreet Singh was instrumental in his sides’ performance in the FIH Series Finals in Odisha. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event, he captained the team to victory in the absence of Manpreet Singh. Harmanpreet was also part of the Indian team that won the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers against Russia last year.
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.”