Both the elder brothers had represented Punjab in the nationals and were seen as potential players, but the family’s financial constraints did not let them go far. Eventually, in their struggle to support the family, they had to quit hockey. But they ensured that their youngest brother Manpreet Singh, 19, stuck to the sport and lived their dreams.
Finally, Manpreet has fulfilled the Olympics dream of his elder brothers Amandeep Singh (28) and Sukhraj Singh (25). The striker has booked his place in the 16-member London-bound squad.
“Participating in the Olympics is every player’s dream. But for me, it’s not only about achieving my personal goal, but living my brothers’ dream too. They sacrificed their passion so that I could pursue mine,” said Manpreet, an assistant manager with Indian Overseas Bank.
“My elder brothers had to quit hockey to work so that they could support the family. Amandeep migrated to Italy and Sukhraj started helping my father in the fields. They all saw to it that money did not come in the way of my career and I remained focused on my goal of donning the Tricolour,” he said.
Manpreet joined the Olympian Surjit Singh Hockey Academy in Jalandhar in 2005. The first big success came his way when he led the team on his international debut in Junior Asia Cup held in Myanmar in 2008.
The Jalandhar boy had his fair share of hardships before he could cement his place in the big league. A knee injury in 2009 sidelined him for almost a year. It was only last year that he made his debut in the senior team in the Asian Champions Trophy in China. Since then, there has been no looking back.