By: Pramod Thomas
MANPREET SINGH became the first Indian hockey player to win the Men’s Player of the Year award since its inception in 1999 by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
He won the award ahead of Belgium’s Arthur van Doren and Lucas Vila of Argentina.
With 260 appearances, Manpreet Singh enjoyed a long career in the national squad since he made his debut in 2011.
Manpreet Singh led India to victory in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, thus securing a spot at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He also represented India at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
FIH Chief Executive Officer Thierry Weil congratulated all the winners over the achievement.
“Athletes, as well as coaches, are the best ambassadors of our sport. I wish all of them every success, in particular those who are involved in the FIH Hockey Pro League and/or the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” he said.
Manpreet Singh was born in a farming family in Mithapur village in Punjab. He was inspired by the former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh, who also hails from the same village.
He first played for India in 2011 at the age of 19. He represented India at the 2012 Summer Olympics and was named Asia’s Junior Player of the Year in 2014.
As per reports, Manpreet is engaged with a Malaysian Illi Najwa Saddique of Pakistani descent. He first met her when the team featured in the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2013 where the Indian team won the Gold Medal.