Indian hockey players sweep FIH Stars Awards

Harmanpreet Singh and Gurjit Kaur were named the FIH Player of the Year in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by Alexander Hassenstein/ Getty Images

Indian hockey players swept the 2020-21 edition of the FIH Stars Awards, the international hockey federation (FIH) announced on Wednesday. 

“As a likely outcome of India men’s first Olympic medal for 41 years, as well as the outstanding performance of the Indian women’s team reaching the last four in Tokyo, India’s athletes and coaches dominate the FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2020-21,” FIH said in a statement.

While drag-flick experts Harmanpreet Singh and Gurjit Kaur have been named the FIH Player of the Year in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively, goalkeeping stalwarts PR Sreejesh and Savita Punia bagged the awards in their respective categories.

One of India’s upcoming stars Vivek Sagar Prasad was named the FIH Rising Star of the Year in the men’s section while Sharmila Devi won the equivalent award in the women’s category. This was Vivek Sagar Prasad’s second award in this category. He was named the FIH Rising Star in 2019 as well.

Chief coaches of the Indian hockey teams, Graham Reid and Sjoerd Marijne were named the FIH Coach of the Year in the men’s and the women’s divisions, respectively.  Sjoerd Marijne stepped down post the Tokyo Olympics.

With no FIH Stars Awards being presented in 2020, the performance of the teams from January 2020 to the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics was considered. 

The winners were decided based on an online poll conducted from August 23 to September 15 which saw national associations, represented by their respective national captains and coaches, players, media and hockey fans cast their votes. 

Votes from national associations counted for 50 per cent of the overall result, while fans and players (25 per cent) as well as media (25 per cent), accounted for the other half.

Indian hockey teams enjoyed phenomenal success during the 2020-21 season with the men’s team putting up commanding performances in the handful of matches they played in the FIH Pro League and eventually clinching the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020.

As for the Indian women’s hockey team, its performance at Tokyo 2020 stood out. India women, led byRani Rampal, finished fourth in what was only their third appearance at the Olympics.

FIH Stars Awards 2020-21: Winners list

Player of the Year: Harmanpreet Singh (men) and Gurjit Kaur (women)

Goalkeeper of the Year: PR Sreejesh (men) and Savita Punia (women)

Rising Star of the Year: Vivek Sagar Prasad (men) and Sharmila Devi (women)

Coach of the Year: Graham Reid (men) and Sjoerd Marijne (women)