Indian men's hockey mid-fielder Vivek Sagar Prasad (Photo Credit: Twitter/FIH_Hockey)
The Indian men’s team mid-fielder Vivek Sagar Prasad was on Monday named as 2019's rising star of the year by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The 19-year-old Vivek won the accolade ahead of Argentina’s Maico Casella and Blake Govers of Australia, who finished second and third respectively.
Vivek polled 50 per cent of all National Association votes, 23 per cent media votes, 15.1 per cent fans/players votes for a combination of 34.5 per cent votes. Casella polled a combined 22 per cent votes, while third placed Govers got 20.9 per cent combined votes.
When he was just 17, Vivek became the second youngest player ever to represent the India national team, in a Four-Nation Invitational tournament in January, 2018. Since then he has appeared for the senior side on more than 50 occasions.
Vivek was also part of the Indian team that won a silver at the 2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, losing on shoot-out to Korea in the final. He was also a member of the Indian team’s two most important events in 2019 -- the FIH Series Finals and the subsequent FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
Vivek was voted the Best Young Player of the FIH Series Final and later figured in the national squad for the Olympic qualifiers against Russia in Bhubaneswar last year. The youngster thanked everyone for helping him to achieve this recognition.
"This is a big moment for me and I thank everyone who voted for me to win this award. This comes as a big motivation to strive harder for the Indian team and give my best as we aim to achieve higher goals for the country," Vivek said.
"I would also like to thank my teammates especially the seniors who ensured they constantly motivated me enough. If I made any mistakes, they encouraged me to give my best," added the youngster, who had led the India U-18 team to a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Hockey India (HI) also congratulated Vivek on winning the award. "I congratulate Vivek for winning the prestigious FIH Rising Star of the Year award. He has transitioned into the senior team well and has been effective in the mid-field carrying out his duties as expected," HI president Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said.