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The Indian Hockey Men's Team Forward Mandeep Singh has been nominated for the Hockey India Dhruv Batra Player of the Year 2019 (Male) and Hockey India Dhanraj Pillay Award for Forward of the Year 2019 at the Hockey India 3rd Annual Awards 2019.
The much-awaited event is set to be held in New Delhi on Sunday, 8 March 2020. These awards are given in recognition of excellence in performance for the year 2019 and overall contribution to the game of hockey.
Mandeep, who pulled off a stellar 2019, scored 20 goals during the course of the year. The 25-year-old played a crucial role in India's victories at the FIH Men's Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 and FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers last year. The Forward netted 8 goals at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, 2 goals at the FIH Men's Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019, 6 goals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event, 2 goals during the Tour of Belgium and 2 goals at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers.
Speaking on the nominations, Mandeep expressed that the team's achievements are bigger than individual success. "I am happy to be nominated for the awards and I am nominated only because of my team's hard work and success last year. These awards are a big motivation for players as the team gets an opportunity to work harder. However, individual successes are not as important as the team's achievements. Last year was very special for us. We qualified for the 2020 Olympics at home and my personal performance was good too," said the Forward.
Mandeep said that when he saw his teammates win awards at the Hockey India 2nd Annual Awards in 2016 it inspired the Forward to work even harder. "When I saw my teammates win Hockey India Awards in 2016, I was very inspired to work hard for my team. I am sure It's a very special moment to receive awards in front of the whole hockey fraternity," said the 25-year-old.
The Indian Men's Hockey Team has performed brilliantly at the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 so far. They have played toe-to-toe against the top three teams - Belgium, Australia and Netherlands in the tournament. Mandeep said that the competition serves as good preparation for the all-important 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"We have started the FIH Hockey Pro League very well. We played good matches against Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. The team is carrying out practice sessions day by day and all players are supporting each other during training and matches. We have never let pressure affect our performances. This competition serves as a good platform to test ourselves against top teams in the world ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," signed off Mandeep.