Indian men's hockey team defender Harmanpreet Singh, who has been recommended by Hockey India for the Arjuna Award, has said it is an honour for him and this nomination will motivate him to perform better in the coming years.
"I was extremely delighted to hear the news. It's an honour to be nominated for the Arjuna Award and I am sure the nomination will motivate me to perform even better in the upcoming years," Harmanpreet said.
Women's team captain Rani has been nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award while her compatriots Vandana Katariya, Monika and Harmanpreet have been nominated for the Arjuna Award.
"All of us have received tremendous support from Hockey India over the years and I was extremely happy to know that Rani has been nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Vandana Katariya and Monika have been nominated for the Arjuna Award. They have put up some brilliant performances in the recent past and I would like to extend my congratulations to them," he said.
The dragflick sensation stepped up his role in the team and shouldered the responsibility of vice-captain with aplomb. As a defender-dragflicker, he was instrumental in the team's winning performance in the FIH Series Finals in Odisha.
At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event, he captained the team to victory in the absence of Manpreet Singh who was rested for the tournament. Singh was also part of the Indian team that won the Olympic Qualifiers against Russia last year.
The 24-year-old said that he has been able to perform for the team only because of the support he has received from his teammates.
"I am very happy with the way I have been contributing to the team in the last couple of years. However, I have been able to come up with the goods only because of the way my teammates have supported me. Hockey is a team sport and all of us ensure that we are contributing to the team's cause in some way or the other. If we score a goal, then it's not only the goal scorer, who takes the credit, but the entire team is credited for a particular effort," said the defender.
The 24-year-old added that booking a place in the Tokyo Olympic Games was the biggest achievement for the team in 2019.
"It was simply amazing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in front of our home crowd last year. I will cherish the memory forever. The balance of our side was fantastic and everyone chipped in to make the tournament a memorable one.
"Now, we will give everything we can to come up with great results at the Olympics next year. It's our sole target at the moment and all of us are up for the challenge. Hopefully, we will become a much better side once we play our first match in Tokyo," said Harmanpreet.