The veteran goalkeeper is the only Indian to be nominated for the prestigious honour this year.
Indian Men’s hockey team’s ace goalkeeper PR Sreejesh expressed that he is truly elated and honoured on being nominated for the World Games Athlete of the Year 2021 award. Sreejesh was instrumental in India’s incredible performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 where the team ended a 41-year-long wait to stand on the podium. In their Bronze-medal outing in Tokyo, India beat Germany 5-4. The match witnessed some excellent defence led by the indomitable wall PR Sreejesh. India had last won an Olympic Medal at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 where they had defeated Spain the Final to clinch gold.
The 24 athletes nominated for this award from 17 countries have been recommended by their respective international federations and in Sreejesh’s case, the FIH has recommended his name for the award for his outstanding efforts in the year 2021. “I think this nomination is quite special for it recognizes great team work and this nomination is a result of our Olympic performance.”
“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 credit of all this success also goes to Hockey India for their support, without them none of this could be possible. Now it’s up to the fans to choose the deserving winner for this award,” stated an elated PR Sreejesh who is currently in SAI, Bengaluru for the ongoing National Coaching Camp.
Earlier in the year, PR Sreejesh was also elected as the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award and was also conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award by the Government of India for his exemplary career in hockey.
Expressing his wishes to Sreejesh on being the only Indian this year to be nominated for the World Games Athlete of the year 2021, Hockey India President Shri Gyanendro Ningombam said, “We at Hockey India are elated by the news of Sreejesh being nominated for the World Games Athlete of the Year 2021. He is a huge inspiration to many in the country and is popular world over for his goalkeeping abilities and his vivacious personality. We are very proud of his achievements and contribution to Indian hockey. I hope all his fans and supporters of Indian hockey will cast their vote for him to win this prestigious award.”
In 2019, Indian Women’s Hockey Captain Rani became the first from India to win the World Games Athlete of the Year with 1,99,477 votes. This will be the Ninth edition of the IWGA initiative that recognises and honours an athlete or a team for their outstanding performance in 2021, or for their social commitment or particularly fair behaviour. If he wins, PR Sreejesh will be the second Indian hockey player to receive this honour.
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