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Harmanpreet is FIH Player of the Year

A dependable deep defender with superb ball control, he is one of the best strikers of penalty corners in contemporary hockey.

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After Mumtaz, Savita, Sreejesh, Graham Reid and Janneke, it is now ace drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh to figure in the FIH star awards.

Chosen for the second consecutive year as the FIH Player of the Year, Harmanpreet Singh, with 155 international caps and 115 goals to his credit, has been the mainstay of the Indian team.

Harmanpreet now becomes just the fourth player to win the Player of the Year award (men’s category) in consecutive years joining an elite list that includes Teun De Nooijer (Netherlands), Jamie Dwyer (Australia) and Arthur van Doren (Belgium).

A dependable deep defender with superb ball control, he is one of the best strikers of penalty corners in contemporary hockey. His adjudication as the FIH Player of the year for second year in running appeared a foregone conclusion as he left behind other competitors far behind.

Harmanpreet has now set his eyes on the ensuing FIH Pro League starting later this month besides the prestigious FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 to be hosted jointly by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in Odisha from January 13 next year.

 “I am truly very humbled and honoured to have won the FIH Player of the Year Award 2021-22. This is a big moment for my career and I am really happy.”

“However, I must say that this award is not mine alone, even though it is an individual award, because without the help and support of my teammates, this would not have been possible in any way at all. So, this is for the team,” is how Harmanpreet reacted after the FIH announced best men and women players of the year on Friday.

An Arjuna Awardee in 2021, Harmanpreet’s focus will now shift to the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-23, where India will face Spain and New Zealand in the next leg, beginning  October 28 in Bhubaneswar.

“Winning such a prestigious award motivates me to work harder on my game so that I can maintain the high levels regularly. Against Spain and New Zealand, my aim will be to carry out the orders and help execute the plans to perfection. Only then can we do well,” Harmanpreet said.

 “We are fully focussed on ensuring we do our best in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023. We have to improve our record in this tournament. Every team will be a very different and unique challenge, but we are doing our best to ensure the team is well prepared.”

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“It has been a while since fans have been able to enjoy the games at the stadium, and I hope they have a great time in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023.”

 Harmanpreet Singh is a bona fide modern-day hockey superstar. He is a terrific defender with a knack for being at the right place at the right time to break down the opponent’s offense. He has great dribbling skills to carry the ball up the field from defence. And he scores goals, goals and more goals! To add to that impressive resume, he has now been voted the FIH Player of the Year, for the second year running.

The stats that primarily jump out for Harmanpreet are the number of goals he scores. His goal-scoring ability has gone up a level this past year as multiple teams have found his penalty corner drag flicks impossible to deal with. His scoring record includes an incredible 18 goals from 16 games, with two hat-tricks, in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22. With those 18 goals, he ended the season as the top scorer for India and now holds the record for most goals scored by a player in a single season of the Pro League.

India, who recently bagged the Silver medal in the 2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham, have drawn England, Wales and Spain in the group stage.

Besides Harmanpreet , the International Hockey Federation (FIH)named  Felice Albers of the Netherlands as the FIH Player (women)  of the Year 2021-22.

Twenty-two year old  Felice Albers’ trophy cabinet is already overflowing. A serial winner, Albers has been a part of Dutch team in its gold medal winning campaigns in the FIH Hockey Pro League (2019 & 2020-21), Euro Hockey Championship 2021, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022. Now she adds another trophy to her cabinet: the FIH Player of the Year Award!

Albers broke into the Dutch national team in 2019, on the back of great performances at the junior level where she switched between midfield and attack. Since making her debut for the senior team she has primarily played as an attacking midfielder, playing at the base of the attack and involved in much of its offensive creativity. She also poses a serious goal-scoring threat to the opponents, scoring 16 goals in her 32 international appearances thus far.

The Netherlands scored 42 goals in 16 games in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22, and 17 goals in 6 games at the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Spain and Netherlands 2022, and Albers played a major role in its offensive output as the creator-in-chief of a stellar Dutch team that finished 2nd in the Pro League and won a third consecutive gold medal at the World Cup. Albers also put the finishing touches to Netherlands’ gold medal winning campaign, with one of the finest goals of the season.

With this win, Albers became the youngest winner of the FIH Player of the Year award (women’s category) since Germany’s Natascha Keller (1999) and second youngest ever, since the inception of the awards in 1998.


Prabhjot Singh

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