The Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal made history by becoming the first hockey player to win the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019 Award yesterday.
This was announced by World Games on Twitter after 20 days of polling. Rani Rampal led the pack with nearly 2 lakh votes.
Huge congratulations to The World Games Athlete of the Year: Hockey star Rani 🇮🇳! Rani won the race with a massive number of votes: 199,477! She will receive a trophy & a prize from the official sponsor @ProtectiveLife🏆 #TheWorldGamesAOTY @FIH_Hockey @hockeyindia @imranirampal pic.twitter.com/gNfbpMq2Ze— The World Games (@TheWorldGames) January 30, 2020
This comes only a few days after the player received the Padma Shri Award (India’s fourth highest civilian award) on Republic Day.
The skipper took to Twitter to thank all her supporters, Hockey India, and the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
Rani came into limelight as the youngest player at 15 at the 2010 Hockey world Cup. Congratulations poured in from all-over as many including Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal, chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, among others, lauded this victory.
Rani garnered world attention as a leader when her team sealed a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 25-year-old has participated in 212 international matches and scored 134 goals so far. This includes leading Team India to victory by scoring four goals at the Champion’s Challenge Tournament in Russia in 2009, and seven goals at the Women’s 2010 Hockey World Cup in Argentina.
The Arjuna awardee was also nominated by the Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH) Women’s All-Star Team of 2010 for the Young Player of the Year Award.
“There was a time when I didn’t even know if I would be having a meal the next day. It makes me very emotional to look back at where I was when I started and where I am today,” she had said during a recent interaction with MAKERS India.
A resident of Haryana, Rani has shared that her father, a cart-puller, was not even aware of the sport before she started playing it at the age of seven.
And today, she is a national treasure, making it big on the global stage.