Veteran Indian hockey goalkeeper PR Srejeesh, who was part of the men’s team that claimed a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, won the prestigious World Games Athlete of the Year for his 2021 performances, becoming only the second Indian to receive the accolade. Indian women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal became the first Indian to win the honor for her 2019 show.
TheWorldGames.org conducted the voting and Sreejesh finished well clear at the top of the 24-strong nomination list. His total votes of 1,27,647 were almost twice as many as the second-placed athlete, Spain’s Sport Climbing ace Albert Lopez, who garnered 67,428 votes.
“I’m very honored to win this award. First of all, a big thank you to FIH for nominating me for this award, and secondly thanks to all the Indian hockey lovers around the world, who voted for me,” Sreejesh said in a statement.
The 33-year-old was the only Indian nominated and was recommended by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
“It’s a big moment for Indian hockey as well because everyone in the hockey community, all the hockey federations around the world voted for me, so it’s great to see that support from the hockey family,” Sreejesh said.