New Delhi, October 5 (Agency)
India’s PR Sreejesh and Savita Poonia were on Wednesday named the men’s and women’s goalkeepers of the year for the second time in a row at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) awards. Sreejesh has been an integral part of the team representing India for the last 16 years. He took the field in all 16 matches of the team’s Hockey Pro League last year. India finished third in this league. Sreejesh was also a member of the Indian team that won the silver medal in the Commonwealth Games. He represented the team on the field in all six of its matches in Birmingham. Praising Sreejesh, a statement from FIH said, “The length of PR Sreejesh’s career continues to defy age. This 34 year old player of India is continuously raising the level of his game.
Sreejesh got a total of 39.9 marks in the election for this award. Belgium’s Loik van Dooren (26.3 points) finished second and Netherlands’ Primin Blak (23.2 points) third. This percentage of votes was based on voting by experts (40%), team (20%), fans (20%) and media (20%). Sreejesh is the third player to win the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award twice in a row. Prior to this, David Hurt (Ire) has won it three times in a row from 2015 and 2016 and Vincent Vanash (Belgium) from 2017 to 2019.
During the season, Sreejesh became India’s first goalkeeper and eighth player overall to play 250 international matches. Sreejesh, who attended the ongoing team camp at the Sports Authority of India in Bengaluru, said, “No doubt, it is a special award because hockey fans are voting for us. It’s a great honor and a testament to my hard work.” According to a statement from FIH, “Savita was brilliant in defending the Indian goalpost. He successfully defended the goal several times in impossible conditions. So it’s no surprise that she gets almost twice the number of votes as other goalkeepers around the world.”