Indian Hockey scenario has changed in the last 6 years: Manpreet Singh | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Indian Hockey scenario has changed in the last 6 years: Manpreet Singh

My life has transformed in the past six years along with the scenario of hockey in India, said Rio Olympian midfielder Manpreet Singh, who came to Bhopal to represent BPCL in Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup.

bhopal Updated: Sep 16, 2016 13:30 IST
Bhopal
Manpreet Singh said the team was now working hard for the upcoming Asian Champion’s Trophy. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT)

My life has transformed in the past six years along with the scenario of hockey in India, said Rio Olympian midfielder Manpreet Singh, who came to Bhopal to represent BPCL in Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup.

He had come to Bhopal six years ago to play a national tournament as a junior player.

“Six years ago, we did not even think of having a tournament costing `1 crore for hockey. Earlier, the highest prize money could be expected only in cricket. With the transformation of hockey in India, the life of players has also changed,” he said.

The young Indian star’s journey to Rio was, however, not a piece of cake.

Facing hardships due to financial crisis, Singh’s two elder brothers had given up playing hockey to support the family. No one in his family wanted Singh to choose hockey as a career option either.

But the Punjab lad never stopped chasing his dreams.

“Seeing my passion and success, my family started supporting me but they were doubtful of my future. When I got selected for the Surjeet Academy, it was getting hard for my family to give pocket money to me. But somehow they managed,” said Singh.

He said hockey was gaining charm due to the higher amount of prize money and the Hockey India League. “The stardom has increased and I don’t think that in the coming years, any parent would stop their ward from choosing hockey,” he added.

Singh, 24, said the one thing which would add charm to hockey was winning medals in the Olympics.

“For the past two years, the Indian hockey team has been performing well. In Rio Olympics, we performed well but due to some mistakes, we could not make it to the semi-finals. We are working on our attacking skills and I am sure we will do well in Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

Singh said the team was now working hard for the upcoming Asian Champion’s Trophy.

BRIGHT STARS

Manpreet Singh is an Indian field hockey player who plays as a halfback.

He first played for India in 2011 at the age of 19.

He represented India at the 2012 Summer Olympics and was named Asia’s Junior Player of the Year in 2014.

Around 12 teams are participating in the Obaidullah Khan Heritage Hockey Cup — Air India, BPCL, ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Indian Railways, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Association of India Universities, Punjab Sindh Bank, Punjab National Bank, Central Secretariat Sports Control Board (CSSCB), Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).