Hockey star Rani Rampal is The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019
Rani RampalNitesh Sinha

Hockey star Rani Rampal is The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019

New Delhi, January 30, 2020

Indian women's hockey captain Rani Rampal has become The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019 with an impressive 199,477 votes that put her ahead of the others in the race.

The winner is decided by sports fans all over the world who have voted for their favourite during 20 days of polling in January. All in all, over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll, a press release from The World Games said.

The release noted that, 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 just the 3rd Olympic Games in their 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 (Kiren) Rijiju, the Minister of State, Youth Affairs and Sports, gave to her in this vote together with the hockey fans all around the world. This is what sport is about: uniting people from different backgrounds and different countries,” said IWGA President José Perurena.

Rani is currently playing matches in New Zealand. She promoted the poll in social media and was thrilled to win the title.

“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.”

CEO of the International Hockey Federation FIH, Thierry Weil says: “On behalf of FIH and the global hockey community, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Rani for having been voted The World Games Athlete of the Year 2019. 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.”

Second in the race with over 92,000 votes came Karate star Stanislav Horuna (UKR) and third was Rhaea Stinn (CAN), Powerlifting World Champion and World Record holder.

“It has been amazing to follow how sports fans all over the world have continued to support their candidates from Day 1. It warms my heart to see fans from 25 different sports activated and voting for their candidate right to the end. Whether one of the top three or somewhere below, the fans have shown their support and love for their sport. I congratulate the winner Rani and the runners-up Stanislav Horuna and Rhaea Stinn for their amazing campaigns, and all the others taking part. I hope to see you all in Birmingham in 2021!” Perurena said.

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