Gurpreet hopes Arjuna Award nomination inspires aspiring footballers

Gurpreet is the fourth goalkeeper to have been named for the Arjuna Award since its inception, the previous ones being Subrata Paul (2016), Brahmanand Sankhwalkar (1997), and the late Peter Thangaraj (1967).

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu holds the distinction of being one of the youngest-ever to captain the Indian national team.   -  Special Arrangement

India national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was nominated for the Arjuna Award on Monday, making him the 26th Indian footballer to receive the prestigious award.

Gurpreet, who spent his formative years in the AIFF Centre of Excellence in Goa, holds the distinction of being the only Indian to have played in the UEFA Europa League (qualifier), during his sayd at Norwegian club Stabaek Fotball in June 2016. The 27-year-old is also one of the youngest-ever to captain the national team, first doing so in an international friendly against Puerto Rico in September 2016.

"I am thrilled and honoured to be named for the Arjuna Award. I want this recognition to serve as an inspiration to everyone playing the sport in the country. My joy will then be complete," Gurpreet said.

AIFF president Praful Patel congratulated Gurpreet on being conferred the Arjuna Award. “Gurpreet’s composure has been such a remarkable hallmark in Indian Football in recent years. You fully deserve this Award. We are extremely proud of you. Keep the flag flying high. Congratulations,” said Patel.

Gurpreet is the fourth goalkeeper to have been named for the Award since its inception, the previous ones being Subrata Paul (2016), Brahmanand Sankhwalkar (1997), and the late Peter Thangaraj (1967).

The Arjuna Awards are awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India in order to recognize outstanding achievements in sports.

Over the years, Gurpreet has emerged as one of the Blue Tigers' top performers. He also represented India at U-19 and U-23 level.