Veteran Indian Hockey goalkeeper P R Sreejesh has won the prestigious World Games Athlete of the Year for his 2021 performances, becoming only the second Indian to receive the accolade.
In 2020, Indian Women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal became the first Indian to win the honour for her 2019 show.
Sreejesh beat competition from sport climber Alberto Gins Lopez of Spain and Italy’s wushu player Michele Giordano for the award.
Sreejesh, a former captain of Indian Men’s Hockey Team and part of the Tokyo Olympics-bronze medal winning side, received around one lakh twenty seven thousand votes, whereas Lopez got around sixty seven thousand votes and Giordane accumulated over fifty two thousand votes.
The 33-year-old was the only Indian nominated and was recommended by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
In the FIH Stars Awards in October, Sreejesh was named the goalkeeper of the year for 2021.
Sreejesh has represented India in 244 senior international matches. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Sreejesh led the Indian hockey team to the quarterfinals of the tournament. He led the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy held at London.