Hockey: India's Vivek Prasad, Lalremsiami win FIH Rising Star awards

Indian men's hockey team teenager Vivek Sagar Prasad on Monday won the FIH Men's Rising Star of the Year award for the year 2019.

Indian men's hockey team's teenager Vivek Sagar Prasad on Monday was announced the winner of 2019 FIH Men's Rising Star of the Year by the International Hockey Federation.

The 19-year old beat Argentina’s Maico Casella and Blake Govers of Australia to the award after receiving 34.5 per cent of the combined votes which included National Assocations, Media and Fans votes.

Vivek, who made his international debut in January 2018 in the Four-Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand, was the second youngest player to represent India at the age of 17. So far, he has won 58 international caps for the national team and captained the Indian Hockey5s team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, where it won the silver medal.

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In 2019, Vivek appeared in all India's 24 matches and scored six goals across all tournaments. He was the awarded the Best Young Player of the tournament at the FIH Men's Series Finals in June as India stood one step away from Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In November, Vivek got on the scoresheet in India's 7-1 second-leg victory over Russia in the Olympic Qualifiers as the Men in Blue qualified for the Olympics with an aggregate of 11-3.

Vivek also scored India's opening goal in Sunday's 3-2 defeat against world champion Belgium in the FIH Pro League second leg at Bhubaneswar.

Indian men's team captain Manpreet Singh is contention for the Men's Best Player of the Year award alongside five other international stars which will be revealed on Thursday.

-Lalremsiami named Women's Rising Star of the Year-

India women's team's forward Lalremsiami has been named as the 2019 FIH Women’s Rising Star of the Year, winning the prize ahead of Argentina’s Julieta Jankunas and Frederique Matla of the Netherlands, who finished second and third respectively.

She first came into the spotlight at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup in 2018. Since then the 19-year-old has been a central figures in the Eves' rise as they cemented their place in the top 10.

Twice in her short senior career she has been the top goal-scorer – in a test series against Korea in 2017 and against Spain in 2019.

At the Ready Steady Tokyo event, which took place in August 2019, Lalremsiami scored the winning goal in the final against Japan. Over the course of that event, India drew with Australia, which was ranked world number two, and with Asian rival China.

However, the two events that really made India and Lalremsiami’s year were the competitions helping secure qualification for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. At the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima, India beat off opposition from eight other teams all craving a place in the Olympic Qualifiers. India held its nerve and sealed top spot, setting up a double header against USA. Tragically for Lalremsiami, her father died during the course of that event, but the young athlete played on, despite her grief. Later she said: “I wanted to make my father proud. I wanted to stay, play and make sure India qualified.”

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