Indian captain Rani received the “World Games Athlete of the Year 2019” award. The prize chosen by the public is awarded for outstanding performance, social commitment, and fair behavior.
There were initially 25 nominees, men, and women, who were reduced to 10 in the last round of public voting. Among her rivals for the title were karate star Stanislav Horuna from Ukraine, Canadian powerlifting champion Rhaea Stinn and Slovenian sports climber Janja Garnbret.
Rani, who has been a member of the national team since she was 15 and currently plays more than 240 caps for her country, said: “It is a privilege and honor for me to win this award. The award goes to my team and my country.
It is always nice if your country recognizes your efforts. It is even better if the international sports community recognizes this. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. 2019 was a great year for our team as we qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As a team, we want to make 2020 a great year! “
Thierry Weil, CEO of FIH, said: “On behalf of FIH and the global hockey community, I would like to sincerely congratulate Rani for being voted World Games athlete of the year 2019. This is recognition of your outstanding performance – together with your teammates -, your commitment to hockey and your leadership. This prestigious award is also great recognition for hockey around the world. “
Looking back on 2019, the highlight for Rani and her teammates was the FIH final of the women’s series in Hiroshima, where Rani herself was a player of the tournament and her team sealed their qualifications for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, leading their team to victory in August in the Ready Steady Tokyo 2020 hockey test.