The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday announced the Goalkeepers of the Year for 2021-22 as a part of the FIH Hockey Star Awards. India’s Savita Punia and PR Sreejesh swept away with the awards in respective categories for their brilliant performances across tournaments. While Savita played a pivotal role in bringing home the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022, PR Sreejesh was instrumental in India’s silver medal win at the event.
“The International Hockey Federation (FIH) can reveal that Savita Punia and PR Sreejesh have been voted the FIH Goalkeepers of the Year 2021-22, in the women’s and men’s categories respectively,” said FIH in a release. Notably, both goalkeepers won the award for the second consecutive year.
Talking about Savita’s contribution to the Indian women’s hockey team’s prolific run, the goalkeeping stalwart laid the foundations for the team’s success. Punia was instrumental in leading India to a podium finish in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22, in their debut campaign, pulling off an astounding 57 saves in the 14 games.
Her form only improved at the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup, as she pulled off some incredible saves as India held the eventual gold medalists England to a draw in the Pool stages. She also had a remarkable game in the cross-over match against Spain, making 7 saves.
At the Commonwealth Games, Savita once again inspired her team, as India ended a 16-year podium drought at the games. The stand-in captain in Rani Rampal’s absence had a stellar game in the bronze medal match against New Zealand, which included multiple match-winning saves in the shoot-out, which brought about the end of the medal drought for the Indian women’s team.
Meanwhile, PR Sreejesh continued to stun one and all with his agility in front of the goalpost even at the age of 34. He featured in all 16 games in the FIH Hockey Pro League as India finished in the third position, and all 6 games at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games where India won the silver medal. Not only that, Sreejesh also completed 250 appearances for India, becoming the 8th Indian to achieve the figure, and the only goalkeeper to do so.