New Delhi, 02 June: Another name has been added in the nomination list for Rajiv Khel Ratna Award, highest sporting honor. This time it is the Hockey India on Tuesday that announced to nominate Indian Women's hockey captain Rani Rampal with many other players getting nominated for Arjuna Award, Major Dhyan Chand Award, and Dronacharya Award.
Along with Rampal, her compatriots Vandana Katariya, Monika, and Harmanpreet Singh are nominated for the Arjuna Award while for the Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement former India stalwarts Dr. RP Singh and Tushar Khandker are recommended. Both of the coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania have been nominated for the Dronacharya Award.
Hockey India stated that the period of consideration for the Khel Ratna Award is between January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2019. During this span of time-
- Rani has led the Indian Women's Hockey Team to historic victories in the Women's Asia Cup in 2017, Silver at the 2018 Asian Games and played a critical role in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in 2019 by scoring the deciding goal that helped in India's qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
- In this period, the Indian Women's Hockey Team also climbed to a career-best FIH World Ranking of No.9.
- She is the first from India to be named as the World Games Athlete of The Year 2019
- She has also been the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2016 and the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2020.
Meanwhile, Katariya with over 200 International Caps and Monika with 150 International Caps, has played key roles in the Indian Team's sensational wins in 2019 including the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event and the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar.
In Indian Men's Hockey Team, drag-flick sensation Harmanpreet Singh is also shortlisted for the prestigious Arjuna Award as he has played a crucial role up in the team while handling the responsibility of Vice-Captain. As a defender-drag-flicker, he was instrumental in the team's winning 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 who was rested for the tournament. Harmanpreet was also part of the Indian team that won the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers against Russia last year.
While former India stars Dr. RP Singh and Tushar Khandker's continued contribution in the field of Hockey has led to their recommendation for the Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement, BJ Kariappa who is nominated for the Dronacharya Award has Coached the Indian Junior Men's Team to Silver Medal at the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2019. Romesh Pathania, on the other hand, continues to serve the sport as Coach of Punjab National Bank.
Speaking about recommendations 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 performance for India in 2019. Dr 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, "he further added.