Harmanpreet Singh is FIH Player of the Year again

Harmanpreet Singh
Harmanpreet Singh has been a prolific scorer for India. File photo: IANS

Lausanne (Switzerland): Indian men's hockey team defender and vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh has been voted the FIH Player of the Year for the second year running.

The 26-year-old, who has a knack for being at the right place at the right time, got the award for his goal-scoring ability, which has gone up a level this past year as multiple teams have found his penalty-corner drag flicks almost impossible to deal with.

His scoring record includes 18 goals from 16 games, with two hat-tricks, in the Pro League 2021-22. With those 18 goals, he ended the season as the top scorer for India and now holds the record for most goals scored by a player in a single season of the Pro League.

Harmanpreet was also in terrific form at the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka in last year, where he scored eight goals in six games, scoring in every single game as India finished on the podium. His performances were also crucial to the Indian team as it won silver at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Harmanpreet now becomes just the fourth player to win the Player of the Year award (men's category) in consecutive years, joining an elite list that includes Teun De Nooijer (the Netherlands), Jamie Dwyer (Australia) and Arthur van Doren (Belgium).

Harmanpreet's total points tally stood at 29.4 points, followed by Thierry Brinkmann with 23.6 points and Tom Boon with 23.4 points.

Felice Albers of the Netherlands was named the FIH Player of the Year in the women's category.

With this win, she becomes the youngest winner of the FIH Player of the Year award (women's category) since Germany's Natascha Keller (1999) and second youngest ever, since the inception of the awards in 1998. Her total points tally stood at 29.1 points, narrowly edging Maria Granatto (26.9 points), in one of the closest races of the FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2021-22. Agustina Gorzelany finished in the third place with 16.4 points.

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