Hockey India (HI) said on Wednesday it has recommended national men’s team players V.R. Raghunath and Dharamvir Singh and women’s team captain Ritu Rani for the Arjuna Award.
Both defender Raghunath, 27, and midfielder Dharamvir, 25, were integral members of the 2014 Asian Games gold-medal winning team in Incheon. They were also silver medallists in the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow.
Midfielder Ritu, 24, captained the Indian women’s team to its first-ever Olympic qualification this year. The Indian eves’ last outing in the Summer Olympic Games was in 1980 in Moscow.
In fact, HI had recommended Raghunath and Dharamvir for the same honour last year also. Raghunath made his debut in the senior men’s squad in 2005 during the bi-lateral series against Pakistan. He has since been an integral part of the national team’s defence structure and is counted as one of the best drag-flickers in the country.
He was a part of the Indian team that won the Bronze in the 2007 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Silver in 2008, Gold in the 2007 Asia Cup and Silver in 2013 where he scored six goals for India.
Likewise, Dharamvir too was part of the bronze medal winning squad at 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
HI also declared that Sylvanus Dung Dung has been recommended for the Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award and veteran coach C.R. Kumar recommended for the Dronacharya Award.
Speaking on the recommendations, HI secretary general Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said: “We are extremely delighted to recommend the players who have proved their mettle against all odds on the turf and displayed extraordinary performances in India and abroad.
“I truly believe they deserve every recognition and appreciation for the efforts they have put in making the nation shine in various tournaments.
“While for each player being conferred with the most coveted Major Dhyan Chand Award and Arjuna Award is a dream that further inspires them, being conferred with the Dronacharya Award is the highest form of recognition and respect for every coach.”