The World Games announced the winner on Thursday after 20 days of polling by sports fans worldwide. A total of 25 athletes from 25 different sports were nominated for this award from their respective sports by their international federations. They were later reduced to 10 in the final round of public voting.
“Indian hockey superstar Rani is the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019! Huge congratulations! “the World Games said in a statement.
“With an impressive number of votes, 199,477, Rani is the clear winner of the Athlete of the Year race, where sports fans all over the world have voted for their favourite during 20 days of polling in January. All in all, over 705,610 votes were cast during the poll,” it added.
“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 sportsperson and my countrymen who have continuously voted for me, “said Rani, who was recently named among the Padma Shri Awardees.
“Special thanks to FIH for nominating me for this prestigious award. Thank you to The World Games Federation for this recognition,” she added.
“2019 was a great year for our team because we qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. As a team we want to make 2020 a great year!”
Last year, India won the FIH Series Finals and Rani was named Player of the Tournament. Under Rani’s leadership, the Indian women’s team qualified for just the third Olympic Games in its 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.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 International World Games Association President Jose Perurena. The International Hockey Federation also congratulated Rani on being named for the award.
Rani, who has been a member of the national team since she was 15 years old, currently has more than 240 caps for India.
Whole country is proud of Rani Rampal. She has become inspiration and role model for many people.