Hockey India on Wednesday, 11 May, recommended VR Raghunath, Dharamvir Singh and Ritu Rani for the esteemed Arjuna Awards in recognition to their contribution to the sport.
Former Indian field hockey player Sylvanus Dung Dung (70) who was part of the Olympic Gold Medal winning team in 1980 has been recommended for the Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award.
S Dung Dung, an unsung hero of Indian hockey, had struck the golden goal against Spain which brought home the elusive Gold Medal after a disappointing outing for the nation in the Montreal Olympics in 1976 when India had missed the podium.
Speaking on the recommendations, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, "We are extremely delighted to recommend the Hockey players who have proved their mettle against all odds on the turf and displayed extraordinary performances in India and abroad.
"With their passion and dedication for the sport, these players who have been recommended have done India proud by earning several accolades internationally. I truly believe they deserve every recognition and appreciation for the efforts they have put in making the nation shine in various tournaments.
"While for each player being conferred with the most coveted Major Dhyan Chand Award and Arjuna Award is a dream that further inspires them, being conferred with the Dronacharya Award is the highest form of recognition and respect for every coach."
V.R Raghunath made his debut in the senior men's squad in 2005 during the bi-lateral series against Pakistan. He has since been an integral part of the national team's defence structure and is counted as one of the best drag flickers in the country.
He was a part of the Indian team that won the Bronze in the 2007 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Silver in 2008, Gold in the 2007 Asia Cup and Silver in 2013 where he scored six goals for India. He was one of the key members of the squad in the 2014 Asian Games where India won the God after nearly three decades and secured an Olympic berth.
Likewise, Dharamvir Singh too has been an asset to the team and was part of the Asian Games Gold medal winning team along with the Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2014 and the Bronze medal at 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
As a midfielder, Dharambir has been a pillar of strength to the Indian defenders and provides the forward line with opportunities with his exemplary skill set.
Ritu Rani, on the other hand, has been an extraordinary talent and a fine captain who led the team from the front and helped achieve the much-awaited Rio Olympic berth. As a senior member of the squad, she has inspired several youngsters to take up the sport. The Indian eves last outing in the Summer Olympic Games was in 1980, Moscow.
Meanwhile, coach C.R Kumar has for long served Indian hockey with diligence and hard work. He is best known for guiding the Indian junior men's hockey team to glory in the 2011 Junior World Cup in Hobart when he had served as the team's Head Coach.
He has also served as Assistant Coach of the Indian Senior Men Team at the 1998 Utrecht World Cup and 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup. In recent years he has been closely working with foreign Chief Coach Neil Hawgood as the Coach of the senior women's hockey team.