Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, who announced a cash prize of Rs.10million (around Dh500,000) for the Indian hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Extending a unique gesture of appreciation, UAE-based entrepreneur Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil has announced a cash prize of Rs.10million (around Dh500,000) for the Indian hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

The announcement comes after the Indian team scripted a historic win at the Olympics.

A series of crucial saves by Sreejesh enabled India to win the match against Germany, thereby ending a 41-year dry spell for the country’s hockey team at the Olympics.

Sreejesh, who belongs to Kerala, pulled off a stunning save in the last few seconds of the match resulting in a bronze medal for India at Tokyo Olympics 2020.

In a press release issued on Monday, Dr. Shamsheer, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare said: “Through his outstanding performance at the Olympics, Sreejesh has brought joy to Indians around the world. As a fellow Malayali (Keralite), I take tremendous pride in his achievement. Thanks to his efforts, the interest in hockey has been renewed. His performance, along with that of the entire Indian hockey team, will serve as encouragement for hundreds of youths in the country.”

While many organizations including the BCCI have declared cash awards for the hockey team, individually, this is the largest cash prize that has been announced for Sreejesh till date. The Olympic goalkeeper was in for a pleasant surprise when Dr. Shamsheer personally called him and congratulated him for his exemplary performance.

Caught me by surprise: Sreejesh

Sreejesh has thanked Dr. Shamsheer for his message and the gesture of appreciation. He says he is overwhelmed and surprised by the reward.

“Dr. Shamsheer has congratulated the entire team for this great achievement and offered his support to us. The announcement of the Rs10million reward caught me by surprise. A reward for winning a medal in the Olympics is delightful news and I feel very fortunate to be the recipient,” said Sreejesh.

Over the last two decades, Sreejesh has carved a niche for himself in the field of hockey. Entering the junior national hockey team in the early 2000s, Sreejesh worked hard to make his way to the national team. A Padma Shri awardee, he also served as the captain of the national team in 2016 and led India to the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics. His quick reflexes and consistent performance have earned him the moniker ‘The Great Wall of India’.

Dr. Shamsheer said: “This cash prize is a token of our appreciation for all the hard work that Sreejesh has put in over the years. His spectacular performance in this Olympics will be cherished by people for years to come. I am sure that he will serve as inspiration for the next generation of sportspersons from the state.”

Sreejesh, who returns to India today after the successful Tokyo campaign, will be presented with the cash prize at a special function in Kochi, stated the release.