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FIH Hockey Pro League: PR Sreejesh completes 250 international caps

Bhubaneswar, Feb 27: Indian men's hockey team's veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh reached a milestone on Sunday as he completed 250 international caps for India.

The goalkeeper achieved this milestone during India's second match against Spain at the FIH Hockey Pro League on Sunday (Feb 27) here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Sreejesh began his journey with the Indian Men's Hockey team in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Sri Lanka but became a regular feature of the team only since 2011 - a year where he stood out with two match-winning saves in the Final of Asian Champions Trophy against Pakistan.

Awards galore in the following years when his performances were recognised with the "Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament" award at the 2013 Asia Cup where India won the Silver Medal and "Goalkeeper of the Tournament" in the Champions Trophy in 2014.

One of his best performances was at the 2014 Asian Games where he made two brilliant saves in Penalty Strokes against Pakistan which ensured his team won the Gold Medal.

The veteran custodian from Kerala was given the dues of the Captain in 2016 and led the team to a historic Silver Medal at the FIH Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in London 2016, also he led India to another Silver Medal at the same tournament in 2018 held in Breda.

Sreejesh was also Captain of the India side that won Bronze Medal in 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang. He has been a part of all major tournaments, including 2014 and 2018 Hockey Men's World Cup and 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. He was the cynosure of India's defence at the Tokyo Olympic Games where India ended the medal drought with a historic Bronze medal.

For his achievements in hockey, he was conferred with Arjuna Award in 2015, the prestigious Padma Shri Award in 2017 and won the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021.

Talking about achieving this milestone, Sreejesh said, "It is extremely special for me to achieve this incredible milestone at my favourite hockey venue in the world - the Kalinga Hockey Stadium. A lot of hard work and sacrifices have gone into this feat of playing 250 international matches for India. I cherish every match I have played for the team and it is with great pride and honour that I wear the Indian jersey. I thank every one who has been part of my journey in hockey and I hope to continue to perform my best for India."

Congratulating Sreejesh on completing 250 International matches, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, "Sreejesh has been the backbone of the Indian team for over a decade now and he is such an inspiration to youngsters not just in India but across the world too. He has worked hard to become an iconic goalkeeper in world hockey and I congratulate him on achieving this milestone of playing 250 international matches for India. I wish him the very best as he continues to serve Indian hockey."

Source: Hockey India

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Story first published: Sunday, February 27, 2022, 20:39 [IST]
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