The 25-year-old is currently training at the SAI centre in Bengaluru.

Hockey India on Friday congratulated the Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal for winning the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award – country’s highest sporting honour.

Rani Rampal won the award along with five other sports stars. For the very first time, five athletes were recommended for the prestigious Khel Ratna award, besides 29 recommendations were made for the Arjuna Award by the selection panel to the sports minister.

“It is a really proud moment for me and especially for my family as well. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is one of the most prestigious awards that a sportsperson can receive, and I owe this to my Coaches, teammates, friends and family for their constant support since the very beginning,” said Rani Rampal, who is currently based out of the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.

“It is an amazing feeling when your hard work is rewarded, and I believe this Award will serve as a great motivation for me and players like me to keep striving for bigger feats and make the country proud. I also would like to congratulate all the other award winners too.”

Hockey in India also congratulated Ajit Singh for being awarded the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games, Romesh Pathania for being awarded the Dronacharya Award (Life-Time achievement), and Jude Felix with the Dronacharya Award as recognition for their contributions to Indian hockey over the years. Deepika and Akashdeep Singh won the Arjuna Award for their contribution for the nation at the international stage.

An elated Akashdeep Singh said, “It is one of the most pleasing moments for me in my career to have been conferred with the Arjuna Award. I would like to thank the jury and all my Coaches, teammates, friends and family who have been a part of my hockey journey so far. I believe patience and hard-work always earn you rewards, and I am very thankful to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for recognising my hard work and I would also like to thank Hockey India for always being a pillar of support in my career.”

Congratulating the award winners, Hockey India’ Officiating President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “On behalf of Hockey India, I would like to congratulate the Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal for being conferred with the highest sporting recognition of the country, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. She has inspired several youngsters to take up the sport of hockey in India through her fantastic performances throughout her career.”

“I would also like to congratulate Akashdeep Singh and Deepika for being conferred with the Arjuna Award for their contribution to the sport. I also congratulate Romesh Pathania, Jude Felix and Ajit Singh for their outstanding contribution to Indian hockey over the years, which has been duly recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports,” he concluded.