India men’s hockey skipper Manpreet Singh, who won the FIH Player of the Year 2019 Award on Thursday, thanked his family and friends for all the support as he dedicated the award to his late father and said that he would have been proud of him (Manpreet) if he was here.Also Read - Highlights Tokyo Olympics 2020 India, Day 14: Wrestler Ravi Dahiya Settles For Silver, India Clinch Historic Bronze in Men's Hockey; Golfer Aditi Ashok Keeps Medal Hopes Alive

“I would like to thank my family and friends for always supporting me. They have been motivating me throughout my career. And of course, I cannot forget my father, if he was still here, he would’ve been really proud of me. This award is for all the support and strength that he always gave me,” the 27-year-old said. Also Read - Tokyo 2020: Have Made Lot of Sacrifices, Result Pretty Special, Says Coach Graham Reid

The star player added that the coveted award will give him confidence for the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League matches and the Tokyo Olympics later this year. He said that he also feels proud to be the first Indian to win the award. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi speaks to Skipper Manpreet Singh, Coach Graham Reid After Olympic Hockey Bronze; Applauds Hard Work

“It’s a really proud moment for me to have won the FIH Player of the Year 2019 Award. It gives me huge confidence for all the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League matches, as well as for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It also feels amazing to have become the first Indian ever to win this prize, but with this recognition, there also comes a big responsibility to keep helping my team to do well,” he said.

Earlier this month, Indian hockey players Vivek Sagar Prasad and Lalremsiami won their respective FIH Rising Star of the Year Awards. Hailing the rise of Indian hockey, Manpreet expressed that the awards won by Vivek and Lalremsiami reflect well on how the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams are improving.

“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,” said Manpreet.