Earlier today it was announced that Spain's Santi Freixa will receive a Foundation for Global Sports Development Athletes in Excellence Award.
The programme rewards competing and retired athletes around the world who have been role models, leaders, and champions in sport and in their communities. Selected athletes receive an unrestricted grant in the amount of $10,000 USD to further their service and career goals.
Santi’s passion for hockey has been evident throughout his impressive career whilst he has also given so much back to the sport. One particular highlight has been the 'Stick for India' organisation that he helped establish aimed at bringing hockey to underprivileged youths in Anantapur, India.
Santi's inspiring stories of perseverance, courage, and dedication throughout his career prompted FIH to nominate the former Spanish international who only retired from the game last year.
Speaking of this award, FIH President Leandro Negre said: "Santi has been an inspirational character both on and off the hockey field for many years. This award is fantastic recognition for everything he has given to the sport and the lives he has touched throughout his journey as an athlete. He is a true ambassador of hockey and all of the characteristics associated with our sport. On behalf of FIH and all of our National Associations, we would like to congratulate Santi on receiving this award."
After receiving this news, Santi said: "I'm incredibly happy with this award. I didn't expect that Global Sports Development would choose a Field Hockey Player, this is also a recognition of our sport. 'Stick for India' was created to give opportunities through our sport, hockey. This award will give us the possibility to think even bigger in the future. Luckily for the hockey community it is not just 'Stick for India' that is using hockey as a development tool for children. Projects like 'Kadish' in Africa, 'Hockey Village' and 'One Thousand Legs' also in India, are doing the same in other regions."
To find out more about 'Stick for India' click here.
For more information about the Foundation for Global Sports Development, click here.
Photo: FIH/Koen Suyk