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Decoding the Journey of ‘ World Games Athlete of the Year’- Rani Rampal

Originally from Haryana, Captain of Indian women’s hockey team Rani Rampal became the first player to win the ‘World Games Athlete of the Year‘ on Thursday. She was presented with the award in New Delhi. The award was announced after over 20 days of polling world wide. The World Games and the Indian Hockey Federation congratulated Rani on her achievement on Twitter.

“Congratulations @imranirampal for becoming the first-ever Hockey athlete to win the prestigious @TheWorldGames Athlete of the Year award!” the FIH, who nominated Rani for the award, said in its twitter handle.

The World Games Twitter handle also congratulated Rani saying ” 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.

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 favourite during 20 days of polling in January. All in all, over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll,” the World Games further added.

Meanwhile, Rani also had a vote of thanks through a video message where she thanked all the people who voted for her.

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“It is my privilege and honour to win this award. It is always nice when your country recognizes your effort. It is even better when the international sports community recognizes it. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. 2019 was a great year for our team because we qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. As a team we want to make 2020 a great year”, she said.

India won the FIH series last year and Rani was awarded the Player of the Tournament. It was under Rani’s leadership that India qualified for the third time in its Olympics history.

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2009 was the first time when Rani broke through into the Indian Women’s hockey team. Since then she has brought a number of accolades to the team. She was instrumental in winning the silver medal for the Indian team in the Asia Cup held in Nov 2009. After playing with India’s national team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games, Rani Rampal was nominated in FIH Women’s All-Star Team of 2010. She was nominated for ‘ young woman player of the year’ award. She was also included the All-Star team of the Asian Hockey Federation based on her performance in the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou.

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Her best performance came in the 2010 Women Hockey World Cup when she scored seven goals which helped India to rise on the ninth position in the rankings. She was also adjudged the ‘Player of the Tournament’ at the 2013 Junior World Cup which India finished with a bronze medal. She was awarded the Arjuna award in 2016 which was the best achievement of her career till date.

She was a part of the Indian Women Hockey team which won the Asia Cup for the second time in 2017. She then led the Indian women’s team in the 2018 Asian Games where they won the sliver medal.

She is the captain of the Indian women’s team just at the age of 25 and one expects her to lead the team for a number of years in the future and bring many more laurels to the country.

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Meanwhile, A total of 25 athletes from 25 different sports were nominated for this award from their respective sports by their international federations. They were later reduced to 10 in the final round of public voting.

The FIH has recommended Rani’s name for her outstanding performances and her ability to lead by example.

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