Lausanne, Switzerland, February 2, 2020: Indian hockey superstar Rani is The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019.
With an impressive number of votes, 199,477, Rani is the clear winner of the Athlete of the Year race, where sports fans all over the world have voted for their favourite during 20 days of polling in January. All in all, over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll.
In 2019, India won the FIH Series Finals and Rani was named Player of the Tournament. With Rani’s lead, India qualified in 2019 for their third Olympic Games in history.
“Rani is an inspirational athlete and a role model for many in India. It was amazing to see the support the Indians, even as high up as Mr Rijiju, the Minister of State, Youth Affairs and Sports, gave to her in this vote together with the hockey fans all around the world,” said IWGA President José Perurena.
Rani added: “I dedicate this award to the entire hockey fraternity, my team and my country. This success has only become possible with the love and support from hockey lovers, fans, my team, coaches, Hockey India, my government, friends from Bollywood, fellow sportspersons and my countrymen who have continuously voted for me.
“Special thanks to FIH for nominating me for this prestigious award. Thank you to The World Games Federation for this recognition.”
The CEO of the International Hockey Federation, Thierry Weil, said: “This is an acknowledgement of her outstanding performances - together with her team-mates - and her dedication to hockey and her leadership.
“This prestigious award is also a great recognition for hockey globally. Furthermore, we are working hard for and looking forward to having Hockey 5s as a demonstration sport at The World Games 2021.”
Note: The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the IOC. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, from July 15-25, 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.