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Ritu Rani, V R Raghunath recommended for Arjuna award

New Delhi: Indian women's team captain Ritu Rani and senior's men's team drag-flicker V R Raghunath were today recommended by Hockey India for the Arjuna Award.

"VR Raghunath, Dharamvir Singh and Ritu Rani have been recommended for the Arjuna Award while Sylvanus Dung Dung has been recommended for the Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award and veteran Coach CR Kumar recommended for the Dronacharya Award," Hockey India said in a statement.

Ritu Rani
Ritu Rani

Speaking on the recommendations, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, "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," he added.

Former player Dung Dung (70) was part of the Olympic Gold Medal winning team in 1980. Dung Dung had struck the golden goal against Spain which brought home the gold medal after a disappointing outing for the nation in the Montreal Olympics in 1976 when India had missed the podium.

Raghunath made his debut in the senior men's squad in 2005 during the bilateral series against Pakistan. He has since been an integral part of the 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 gold after nearly three decades and secured an Olympic berth.

Likewise, Dharamvir was also a part of the Asian Games gold medal winning team. He was also in the team which won the silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the bronze medal at 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Ritu, on the other hand, led the team from the front and helped it achieve the Rio Olympic berth.

Meanwhile Coach C R Kumar 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's team at the 1998 Utrecht World Cup and 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup. In recent years he has been closely working with women's foreign Chief Coach Neil Hawgood.

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