New Delhi, Jun 2 : Hockey India on Tuesday nominated national women's team captain Rani Rampal for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award while Vandana Kataria, Monika and Harmanpreet Singh were recommended for the Arjuna Award. For the Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement, Hockey India recommended former India stalwarts Dr RP Singh and Tushar Khandker.
Coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania have been nominated for the Dronacharya Award. The period of consideration for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honour, is between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019. During this period, Rani led the 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 India qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In this period, the team also climbed to a career-best FIH World Ranking of No 9.
Rani, who is the first Indian to be named as the World Games Athlete of The Year, has also been the recipient of the Arjuna Award (2016) and Padma Shri (2020). Meanwhile, striker Vandana, with over 200 international caps, and Monika, with more than 150 national appearances, have been recommended for the Arjuna Award. They both played key roles in the team's sensational wins in 2019 including the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event and the Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar. Indian men's hockey team drag flick sensation Harmanpreet Singh, also shortlisted for the prestigious Arjuna Award, stepped up his role in the team and shouldered the responsibility of vice captain with aplomb. 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. (UNI)