New Delhi: Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani was on Tuesday (June 2) nominated for the country’s highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

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Hockey India (HI) nominated Rani for Khel Ratna while her compatriots Vandana Katariya, Monika and Harmanpreet Singh have been nominated for the Arjuna Award.

For the Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement, HI has recommended former India stalwarts Dr RP Singh and Tushar Khandker. Coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania have been nominated for the Dronacharya Award, HI said on its website.

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The period of consideration for Khel Ratna is between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2019. During this period, Rani has led the Indian women’s hockey team to historic victories in the Women’s Asia Cup in 2017, silver at the 2018 Asian Games and played a critical role in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in 2019 by scoring the deciding goal that helped in India's qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Vandana Katariya

Also, in this period, the Indian women’s hockey team climbed to a career-best FIH world ranking of No. 9. First from India to be named as the World Games Athlete of The Year 2019, Rani has also been the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2016 and the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2020.

Speaking about HI’s recommendations for the prestigious National Awards, HI president Mohd Mustaque Ahmad said, “Sardar Singh was the last hockey player to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Rani has set new benchmarks in women’s hockey and we at Hockey India feel she is very deserving of the top award. We are happy to endorse Vandana Katariya, Monika and Harmanpreet Singh for the Arjuna Award for their excellent performance for India in 2019.

Harmanpreet Singh (right)

“Dr RP Singh and Tushar Khandker nominated for the Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement and Coaches BJ Kariappa and Romesh Pathania nominated for the Dronacharya Award have contributed to Indian Hockey in their respective roles as players, administrators and coaches. They contribute to help build the sport and achieve our goals. It is with pride and happiness that Hockey India recommends these names for the prestigious National Awards.”