Indian men’s hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who pulled off top-drawer saves during India’s historic bronze medal-winning campaign at the Tokyo Olympics, has been nominated for the World Games Athlete of the Year award for 2021.
The 24 nominees from 17 countries in the ninth edition of the annual awards are recognised on the basis of individual/team performance, social commitment, or fair behaviour.
The winner will be selected through an online voting process which begins on January 10 and ends on January 31.
PR Sreejesh is the only Indian nominated and was recommended by the international hockey federation (FIH). In the FIH Stars Awards in October, PR Sreejesh was named the goalkeeper of the year in 2021.
“I think this nomination is quite special for it recognises great team work and this nomination is a result of our Olympic performance,” said the 33-year-old Sreejesh.
“I am so honoured to be nominated and this truly goes for the team. It's because of their hard work that we are being recognised world-over,” the three-time Olympian added.
PR Sreejesh, who was conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna last year, is currently training at the national camp at the SAI centre in Bengaluru.
In 2020, Indian women's hockey captain Rani Rampal became the first Indian to win the World Games Athlete of the Year award for her performances in 2019.
The Indian men’s hockey team finished 2021 ranked third – its best-ever standing on the FIH hockey rankings table.
In October, the team along with the Indian women’s hockey team swept the FIH Awards.
Harmanpreet Singh and Gurjit Kaur were named the men’s and women’s player of the year, respectively, while Vivek Prasad and Sharmila Devi were selected as rising stars.