In February 2020, 27-year-old midfielder, Manpreet Singh won the FIH men’s 2019 field hockey player of the year. Singh polled 32.5 of the combined vote, beating competition from Belgium’s Arthur van Dorren and Lucas Villa of Argentina, who came second and third respectively. Manpreet proudly, became the first player from India to win the award since the awards were introduced in 1999.
Manpreet dedicated the award to his late Father and proudly said:
I am so happy and I feel amazing right now. I got this award for my team and the staff. It’s amazing.
I think i did well but it’s all because of my team mates, in all honesty.
The award means Manpreet is now rightfully acknowledged as a world class player. With India taking part in the FIH pro series for the first time it’s a special moment. Plus the award is a fitting tribute to a player who will be a figure head in the next world championships to be held in India in 2023.
Lets discuss Singh’s skill set: Manpreet can be lethal around the box, typically popping up to score important goals often from the right or the left side. He’s adept at shooting with a reverse stick or with clever tap ins. Manpreet is gifted at finding the right space to launch his shot on goal. Notwithstanding his neat field play he is a leader and Captain of the national team.
Manpreet made an early start to his national career; he played for India in 2011 at only the age of 19, at the 2012 Summer Olympics. By 2014 people were taking notice of his talents and he was named Asia’s Junior Player of the Year in 2014.
After ‘underachieving years’, Singh symbolizes his country’s rise from hockey ashes with both men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The path of revival was first trodden in 2016 when at the 2016 Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy at London, India won the silver medal after losing to Australia in the final by 3-1. The hockey loving nation had at last made it to the finals after 38 years.
Manpreet was picked for the team though missed a few games due to his father’s death. India won the second place after losing the final against Australia by 4-0 on 16 April 2016. Singh scored 2 of India’s 18 goals in the tournament, scoring 2 despite missing a few games.
Singh is happy with the nation’s women’s, men’s and junior teams are progress saying,
It is also a very positive thing for both our teams with Vivek and Lalremsiami also having won their respective FIH Rising Star of the Year Awards. It reflects well on how our teams are improving, and gives us the confidence in doing well in future events and tournaments.”
India’s and Manpreet’s progress has continued in the 2020 Pro league. During their opening two matches, the Indian team displayed great character to defend when in then lead and also showed enough courage to dig deep and grind out results tough circumstances – a trait they lacked in the recent past. The Indian team made a dream debut at the FIH Pro League, beating world number three Netherlands 5-2 in the first tie of the double header.
Manpreet Singh is sponsored by ALFA, Adidas, Gribbid and Redbull Athlete.
Manpreet Singh recently tweeted some sage words: ‘Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will!’