The Indian women’s team captain Rani Rampal on Thursday became the first-ever hockey player to win the prestigious World Games Athlete of the Year Award.
The World Games announced the winner on Thursday after 20 days of polling by sports fans world-wide.
“Indian hockey superstar Rani is The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019! Huge congratulations!,” the World Games said in a statement.
“With an impressive number of votes, 199,477, Rani is the clear winner of the Athlete of the Year race, where sports fans all over the world have voted for their favourite during 20 days of polling in January. All in all, over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll,” it added.
Last year, India won the FIH Series Finals, and Rani was named player-of-the-tournament. Under Rani’s leadership, the Indian women’s team qualified for the Olympics.
“I dedicate this award to the entire hockey fraternity, my team and my country. This success has only become possible with the love and support from hockey lovers, fans, my team, coaches, Hockey India, my government, friends from Bollywood, fellow sportspersons and my countrymen who have continuously voted for me,” said Rani, who was recently named among the Padma Shri awardees.
Rani, who has been a member of the national team since she was 15, has more than 240 caps for India.