The 2019 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Player of Year Awards turned out to be a memorable event for the Indian hockey contingent as they won as many as 3 awards. This prestigious award ceremony has been organised annually by FIH from 1998.
The 6 different categories in which the male and female hockey players are awarded in this award ceremony are as follows:
#1. Best Men's Player of the Year
#2. Best Women's Player of the Year
#3. Best Young Men's Player of the Year (Age 18-25)
#4. Best Young Women's Player of the Year (Age 18-25)
#5. Best Men's Goalkeeper of the Year
#6. Best Women's Goalkeeper of the Year
This was the first time in the history of this award ceremony that any Indian player was selected a winner. In this article we look at the 3 Indian players who won this prestigious award this year.
#1. Best Men's Player of the Year: Manpreet Singh
The Indian Men's hockey team captain, Manpreet Singh, was chosen the Best Men's Player of the Year 2019. He got 35.2% of the total polled votes, while Arthur Van Doren of Belgium got 19.7% of the polled votes to come second. The other contenders for this year's award were Victor Wegnez, Lucas Villa, Eddie Ockenden and Aran Zalewski. Manpreet's excellent performance as the leader of the Indian midfield throughout the year has helped him get this coveted award. Drawing inspiration from this award, Manpreet would want to perform even better in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and lead his team to a podium finish after four decades.
#2. Best Young Men's Player of the Year: Vivek Prasad
The 19 year old Indian midfielder won this award by getting 34.5% of the total polled voters, ahead of Masio Casella of Argentina, Jonas de Geus of Netherlands, Blake Govers of Australia and Zachary Wallace of Great Britain. Vivek has been an excellent addition to the Indian midfield in 2019. His partnership with Manpreet Singh has helped India dominate in midfield against the best teams in the world like Netherlands and Belgium. He is also very good in scoring field goals.
Vivek will be a very important member of the Indian hockey team in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and the hockey fans would expect him to scale newer heights in the coming days.
#3. Best Young Women's Player of the Year: Lalremsiami
Lalremsiami, the young Indian forward from Mizoram, has been a great find for Indian hockey in recent years. Along with Captain Rani Rampal, young Lalremsiami had been instrumental in taking the Indian Women's Hockey Team to the Tokyo Olympics, by beating the mighty USA team in the qualifiers.
As a recognition for her prolific performance in 2019, she was awarded the Young Women's Player of the Year 2019, ahead of Julieta Jankunas of Argentina, Nike Lorenz of Germany, Frederique Matla of Netherlands and Zhong Jiaqi of China.
This award will definitely boost Lalremsiami's confidence ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and help her achieve greater heights for India in the coming days.