In a historic moment for Indian hockey, Hardik Singh, the vice-captain and stellar midfielder of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team, was crowned the FIH Player of the Year for 2023. The prestigious award was announced at the FIH Hockey Star Awards 2023, marking a celebration of Hardik's exceptional talent, dedication, and outstanding contributions to the sport.
Upon receiving the esteemed award, the 25-year-old expressed his gratitude, stating, "It's an absolute honour to receive this esteemed award. I am immensely grateful to my teammates, coaches, and supporters who have been the pillars of my success." Hardik's heartfelt acknowledgment extended to those who played a crucial role in his journey, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and support.
Hardik Singh's journey to the summit of the sport has been nothing short of inspirational. Making his mark with remarkable promise, he evolved into a linchpin of the Indian Men's Hockey Team. The recognition as FIH Player of the Year underscores his exceptional technical prowess, strategic acumen, and commitment on the field.
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His pivotal role in guiding the team through numerous challenges, resilience, and exceptional sportsmanship earned accolades not only for himself but also brought immense pride and glory to the nation. Hardik's impressive track record includes 114 caps, a crucial contribution to India's triumphant Bronze-medal victory at the 2020 Olympics, and key roles in the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 and the Asian Games 2023, where India clinched Gold medals.
This accolade marks Hardik's second significant award in 2023, following the Hockey India Balbir Singh Sr. Award for Player of the Year. He now joins the ranks of Manpreet Singh (2019) and Harmanpreet Singh (2020-21, 2021-22) as the third Indian Men's Hockey Team player to achieve the FIH Player of the Year honor.
Born into a family deeply rooted in hockey, with a father, Varinderpreet Singh Ray, who played for India and a grandfather, Preetam Singh Ray, who coached with the Indian Navy, Hardik acknowledges his paternal uncle and former Indian drag-flicker Jugraj Singh as his mentor. The family's legacy in sports, including his aunt Rajbir Kaur's international play, further fueled Hardik's passion for the game.
Receiving the FIH Player of the Year Award 2023 not only stands as a testament to Hardik Singh's dedication and relentless hard work but also positions him as a true ambassador of Indian hockey. His achievement serves as inspiration for aspiring athletes across the country, reinforcing India's rich legacy in the sport.
Hardik Singh's triumphant return to the hockey arena after being ruled out of the 2023 Men's FIH Hockey World Cup due to a hamstring injury adds another layer to his remarkable journey. Overcoming challenges and contributing significantly post-recovery highlights his resilience and determination.
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This prestigious honor is the latest addition to Hardik's growing list of accolades. Earlier in the year, he secured the esteemed Hockey India Balbir Singh Sr. Award for Player of the Year 2022, further solidifying his position as a standout player in Indian hockey.
Hardik Singh's achievement reinforces India's rich legacy in hockey, and he stands as a true ambassador of the sport, inspiring generations to come. His commitment, exemplary leadership as the Vice Captain, and unparalleled performance have not only garnered personal accolades but have also brought glory to the nation.