Indian hockey team captain Manpreet Singh on Thursday bagged the 2019 FIH Men's Player of the Year award.
Singh has become the first member of the India national team to win the Best Player award since the award was initiated in 1999. He was up against Belgium's Arthur van Doren and Lucas Vila of Argentina, who finished second and third respectively. Singh made 260 appearances for the team since making his debut way back in 2011. In 2019, as captain, he led his team to victory in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, securing a spot at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The midfielder has also represented India at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Singh said their biggest goal in 2019 was to book the berth at the Olympics.
"If you look at our year, we did well in every tournament we participated in. Be it the FIH Series Finals in June or the test series in Belgium where we played the hosts as well as Spain and beat them. Our biggest goal in 2019 was to book our berth at the Olympics," International Hockey Federation's (FIH) official website quoted Singh as saying.
FIH Chief Executive Officer Thierry Weil congratulated all the winners of the 2019 FIH Stars Awards. "On behalf of FIH, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations from the whole hockey community to all winners of the 2019 FIH Stars Awards and also to all nominees. Thanks to their skills and performances, as well as their teammates, they invite fans all over the world to experience great emotions," Weil said.
"We are very grateful to them. Athletes, as well as coaches, are the best ambassadors of our sport. I wish all of them every success, in particular those who are involved in the FIH Hockey Pro League and/or the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," he added. Earlier, Australia national hockey team coach Colin Batch was named as the FIH Male Coach of the Year 2019 while Dutch women's national team coach Alyson Annan won the FIH Women Coach of the Year 2019 award. (ANI)