FIH Rising Stars Awards 2019: India's Vivek Prasad and Lalremsiami emerge winners
What's the story?
Vivek Prasad is one of the brightest talents in the Indian Men's Hockey team. The 19-year-old plays as a midfielder and was also a part of the team that won Bronze at the 2018 Asian Games, and a Silver at the 2018 Champions Trophy.
The highly-skilled player was named as the best young player of the tournament at the 2019 FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar last year. Prasad broke into the Indian team when he was just 17 years of age, and became the 2nd youngest player ever to represent India. He already has over 50 appearances for the National Men's Hockey team now.
On the other hand, Lalremsiami plays as a forward in the Indian Women's national hockey team. The 19-year-old Mizo player was part of the national team when they won the Silver medal during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Lalremsiami scored four goals in the tournament.
The youngster has become a key part of the team over the past few years and cemented her place in the Indian setup.
The heart of the matter
Vivek Prasad has now added another feather to his cap by winning the FIH Rising Star of the year for 2019. It is a historical achievement as he becomes the first Indian player to win the prestigious award. The determined Indian midfielder edged past Maico Casella of Argentina and Australia's Blake Govers, who finished second and third, respectively.
The youngster accounted for 50% of the votes of all National Associations, 23% votes from media, 15.1% players/fans votes. If we are to look at all the votes cumulatively, then Vivek's share was 34.5 percent. Maico got 22 percent (combined) while Blake finished a close third with 20.9 percent (combined) votes.
An ecstatic Prasad, who is also widely popular for leading India U-18 team to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games Silver medal, spoke of his latest achievements in a video posted by the International Hockey Federation:
"This is a big moment for me and I thank everyone who voted for me to win this award. This comes as a big motivation to strive harder for the Indian team and give my best as we aim to achieve higher goals for the country. I would also like to thank my teammates especially the seniors who ensured they constantly motivated me enough. If I made any mistakes, they encouraged me to give my best."
Vivek also appeared in all of India's 24 matches that were held in 2019. He scored 6 goals across all the tournaments and was the architect behind many more.
Meanwhile, star Indian striker Lalremsiami was named as the 2019 FIH Women's Rising Star of the Year short after Vivek's triumph.
The Mizoram-born forward claimed as many as 40 percent of the votes cumulatively. She got 47.7% votes of all national associations. Meanwhile, the media contributed to 28.4% of the votes and finally, players/fans attributed 36.4%. Julieta Jankunas of Argentina and Netherlands' Frederique Matla finished second and third, respectively.
One of the stand-out players during the Hockey Women's World Cup in 2018, Lalremsiami shared her thoughts in a video posted by FIH. She has been a regular in the Indian Women's national team and also played an important role in helping them qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Mizo player is highly regarded for her creativity and high work rate. She also has a knack of scoring goals but even if she does not find her name on the scoresheet, the teenager ensures that her contribution to the game is significant.
Rani Rampal broke the news to Lalremsiami with a surprise:
There is still plenty to look forward to for the nation. Manpreet Singh, captain of the Indian Men's National Hockey team, is in contention for the prestigious FIH Player of the year award, the winner of which will be declared on 13th February.Published 11 Feb 2020, 14:55 IST