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Harmanpreet Singh, Gurjit Kaur win best player awards as India sweep international hockey honours

  • Oct 06, 2021
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Indian hockey touched a new peak on Wednesday, making a virtual clean sweep of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) awards, with drag-flick sensation Harmanpreet Singh being crowned the 'FIH Player of the Year' in the men's category, PR Sreejesh winning the 'Goalkeeper of the Year' award and the men's hockey chief coach Graham Reid getting the 'FIH Coach of the Year' award. Former Indian women's hockey chief coach Sjoerd Marijne got the 'FIH Coach of the Year' award in the women's category. The voting-based annual awards had six Indian players and two coaches in men's and women's categories. This is the first time that all nominees from India have won the prestigious awards in their respective categories. Drag-flick sensation Harmanpreet Singh was the top scorer in India's bronze medal-winning performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games. He was nominated for the award along with Belgium's Arthur Van Doren and Alexander Hendrickx as well as Australia's Jake Whetton, Tim Brand and Aran Zalewski. Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur won the 'FIH Player of The Year' award in the women's category. She was nominated alongside Argentina's Agustina Gorzelany and Agustina Albertarrio. The other nominees for the award were Netherlands' Eva De Goede, Frederique Matla and Maria Verschoor. Sreejesh, who won the 'Goalkeeper of the Year' award, had come up with a career-best performance at the Olympic Games. The other nominees in this category were Belgium's Vincent Vanasch and Australia's Andrew Charter. Goalkeeper Savita won the award for the best goalkeeper in the female category. Savita, who was also the joint-vice captain of the women's team at the Olympics, was outstanding in guarding India's post and played an instrumental role in the team finishing fourth in Tokyo. The other nominees in this category were Great Britain's Maddie Hinch and Argentina's Belen Succi. 2020-21 FIH #HockeyStarsAwards results announced! Olympic Success Wave continues for India with @TheHockeyIndia winning big.A record number of almost 300’000 fans casted their votes for this year's Awards.CONGRATULATIONS to all winners and nominees!— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) October 6, 2021In the FIH 'Rising Star of the Year' category for men, Vivek Sagar Prasad won the award for the second consecutive time. He was nominated along with South Africa's Mustaphaa Cassiem and Australia's Sean Findlay. In the 'FIH Rising Star of the Year' category for women, Sharmila Devi won the award with maximum votes ahead of Great Britain's Fiona Crackles and Argentina's Valentina Raposo. Graham Reid got the 'FIH Coach of the Year' award. He was nominated along with Australia's Colin Batch and Belgium's Shane McLeod. Congratulating the award winners, Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam said, "This is a great moment for Indian hockey as all our Indian nominees for the FIH Stars Awards have been announced winners. After the historic performances in Tokyo by both the Indian men`s and women`s hockey teams, the support from Indian fans from across the globe has been overwhelming. We thank everyone who supported the nominees by voting for them. "This is a big moment for us and these awards will definitely inspire future generations to take up the sport professionally. On behalf of Hockey India, I congratulate all the award winners and wish them success in their future endeavours."Also Read- Sagar Rana murder case: Delhi court denies bail to Olympic wrestler Sushil Kumar

Asian Champions Trophy Hockey

Asian Champions Trophy Hockey: India lose 3-5 to Japan in semis

  • Dec 22, 2021
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Asian Champions Trophy Hockey: India lose 3-5 to Japan in semis, to play Pakistan in bronze medal clashDhaka: India, a defending champion and Olympic bronze medalist lost 3-5 to Japan in the second semi-final of the AFC Champions Cup men's hockey tournament on Tuesday.Japan was very different on Tuesday as they played Manpreet Singh's winger from the start.The Indians were nowhere near their final performance in the match against Japan, as their defense collapsed under relentless pressure from the lower-ranked opponent from the start of the match.This was in stark contrast to India's performance in their last game against Japan, where the Olympic medalists never recovered from their first goals.Japan led 2-0 in the first two minutes and it looks like the Indians took a hit and played hockey after that.Japan scored through Shota Yamada (first-minute penalty), Riki Fujishima (2), Yoshiki Kirishita (29), Kosei Kwabe (35), and Ryoma Oka (41).Hardik Singh (17, 58) and deputy captain Harmanpreet Singh (43) scored for India.India and Japan met 18 times, the host country won 16 matches, while Japan won once and ended in a draw.Japan will now face South Korea at the summit, while India will again face Pakistan in the bronze medal match on Wednesday.The tournament ended in a hostile climax for India after they topped the Round Robin stages with an undefeated record.In the second semifinal of the day, South Korea beat Pakistan 6-5 in a thrilling clash.The Indians were supposed to enter the game with confidence after their last quarterfinal game, but the scene was quite different on Tuesday.It was the Japanese who attacked from the beginning and took full control of the first quarter.Japan's dominance can be measured by the fact that it scored six penalties in the first six minutes, two of which were goals. He was awarded a penalty for the first time in the first minute, which resulted in a penalty and Yamada did not miss a penalty.The Asian Games gold medalists continued to pressure the Indian defense, scoring five more corner kicks in a minute and a half, one of which resulted in another goal from Raiki Fujishima.Japan completely dominated the first 15 minutes as they launched attack after attack at the Indian goal to surprise the Olympic bronze medalists.It was a completely disappointing performance from India as they failed to score a single goal in the first 15 minutes.Prepared by captain Manpreet Singh and Dilpreet Singh, losing by two goals, the Indians came out more objectively in the second quarter and reduced the gap in the 17th minute with a field goal from Hardik.India kept pushing and got their first penalty in the 19th minute, but Japanese goalkeeper Neelam Sanjeev Ziss saved.But Japan did not hold back and relied on their swift counterattacks, which trapped the Indian defense several times during the match.From one of these counterattacks, Japan got another penalty that was missed by India's teacher Krishna Bahadur Pathak and this time Kirishita got up and opened his breath to advance 3-1.After swapping ends, Japan again surprised India when Kwabe fired an impromptu shot at the open goal and the Indian defense stopped believing they were taking a penalty. But the referee seized the opportunity.Oka scored from close range in the 41st minute off some great left flank action by Kenta Tanaka.Two minutes later, Harmanpreet converted India's second penalty.After trailing 2-5, India was chasing goals and soon received two more penalties, but both missed.With just over a minute to go, India secured their fifth penalty, and this time Hardik scored his second goal of the day from another.The captain of India, Manpreet Singh, was very upset with the result.He said: "It is not the result we wanted. We were a bit lazy at the beginning, we lost two opening goals. The biggest lesson for us is that we cannot underestimate any team, we have to prepare for tomorrow's game. We need to stay."Also read -  Why are you, captain?' Ricky Ponting slams Joe Root comments