The news about Sachin Tendulkar winning the Laureus Sporting Moment Award was received with great elation in the country. And why not? It was a great achievement and even though there are some valid questions about the validity of the choice and the method in which the awardee was decided, the celebrations were not out of order.
But what is disappointing is that the media and sports fans of the country are more excited about Sachin's award than the, arguably, bigger achievement by three Indian hockey players in recent times. Indian men's team captain Manpreet Singh won the prestigious FIH Men's Player of the Year Award while midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad and forward Lalremsiami won the Emerging Player of the Year Award in men's and women's category respectively.
The reason why these awards are more important is because they haven't been decided by online voting, as was the case with Sachin's award. On top of that, for an Indian hockey player to be judged best in the world in our national sport is something that should be celebrated with much more vigour.
There should certainly be greater attention given to the achievement of Lalremsiami. Hailing from Mizoram, she came into the Indian team when she hardly understood a word of Hindi or English. It was through her perseverance and hard work that she not only became a regular member of the side but can also now talk in Hindi without much difficulty. Check out her exclusive interview to this website.
Vivek Sagar Prasad too has made rapid strides and the award came at a time when he was playing a key part in his team's campaign in the ongoing FIH Pro League. In the four matches that the Indian men's team has played so far, India have won two – one each against World Champions Belgium and Netherlands – drawn one and lost one. Overall, they have been brilliant.
But that's not all! If we are going to celebrate awards won by Indian sportspersons through popular voting, then one needs to look at Indian women's team captain Rani's achievement also. She won the World Games Athlete of the Year Award some weeks ago. She was nominated for these, less high-profile awards by FIH and through voting in her favour by fans, emerged victorious.
Under Rani's able leadership and brilliant play as a forward, Indian women's hockey team has qualified for the Olympics. Manpreet too, has led his team to continuous success and victories over top teams in the world.
But the most inspiring story is of Lalremsiami who decided to go ahead and play for India in a match despite learning of her father's death. The teenager has shown great commitment and love for her team and country. Too bad, Indians are not paying enough attention to her and other hockey players' achievement.