Indian women’s team captain Rani Rampal on Thursday became the first-ever hockey player to win the prestigious ‘World Games Athlete of the Year’ award.
“With an impressive number of votes, 199,477, Rani is the clear winner of the Athlete of the Year race, where sports fans all over the world have voted for their favorite during 20 days of polling in January. All in all, over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll,” it added.
Last year, India won the FIH Series Finals, and Rani was named Player of the Tournament. Under Rani’s leadership, the Indian women’s team qualified for just the third Olympic Games in its history.
“I dedicate this award to the entire hockey fraternity, my team, and my country. This success has only become possible with the love and support from hockey lovers, fans, my team, coaches, Hockey India, my government, friends from Bollywood, fellow sportspersons and my countrymen who have continuously voted for me,” said Rani, who was recently named among the Padma Shri awardees.
The World Games announced the winner on Thursday after 20 days of polling by sports fans worldwide.
“Indian hockey superstar Rani is The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019! Huge congratulations!,” the World Games said in a statement.