Muscat, March 30 (IANS) Indian forward S.V Sunil and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh were named as the Asian Player of the Year 2016 and Asian Promising Player of the Year respectively by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) here on Thursday.
Sunil played a vital role in India's successful outing at the FIH Champions Trophy in London where the team earned a historic silver medal. Considered to be one of the fastest men on the pitch in the world, Sunil has also served as the team's vice-captain and is entrusted with the duty of leading by example.
The nominations for these awards were made by coaches across the national teams in Asia and the criteria of nomination was based on the performance for the year 2016.
The Coorg player thanked the AHF for the award stating that it's a big boost to be named the Asian Player Of The Year.
"This award is an icing on the cake. I believe Indian hockey is growing year by year and we have enjoyed some memorable victories in 2016. This award could not have been possible if not for our team work.
"I would like to thank Hockey India for their efforts, our coaches and support staff too who work with us day in and day out as one big family. It is always a good feeling to be recognized with such awards as it only adds to the player's motivation to improve," stated Sunil.
Harmanpreet had a stupendous 2016 with India winning the Junior World Cup where he led the team's defence and was instrumental in converting penalty corners. He was also part of the Indian men's team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the FIH Champions Trophy in London.
"I believe 2016 was a great year for Indian hockey and I would like to thank the AHF for honouring me with this prestigious award and Hockey India for their ongoing support," stated Harmanpreet, who is currently part of the Indian senior men's national camp that is preparing for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Hockey India President Mariamma Koshy congratulated the players for the coveted awards. "It is a special moment for Indian hockey. With (captain and goalkeeper) P.R. Sreejesh receiving the Padma Shri Award and Asian Hockey Federation announcing Harmanpreet Singh and Sunil as Asian Promising Player of the Year and Asian Player of the Year respectively is a big feat.
"I would like to congratulate the players for their efforts and also the entire team management who have worked like a unit in bringing good results. Awards are always a big motivation for greater things to come and I wish the team many more such accolades in the future."