Nineteen-year-old forward Akashdeep Singh, who has trained at the local Surjit Hockey Academy, once again turned out to be hero for the India men’s hockey team, converting first of the shoot-off in the country’s historic 4-2 win over archrival Pakistan in the final at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, on Thursday.
Akshadeep at the age of 12, had followed his brother’s footstep into hockey, honing his skills at an academy in Ludhiana and later at Surjit Hockey Academy, Jalandhar.
Akashdeep, who belongs to Vairowal village near Tarn Taran, converted in the penalty shootout along with two other players from Punjab — Rupinderpal Singh and Dhramvir Singh — to help India grab gold in hockey after a gap of 16 years. The win also means that India has secured qualification for the Rio Olympics. Birendra Lakra was the other who found the back of net.
Back home, for his elder brother Prabhdeep Singh, himself a hockey player, joy knew no bound. “It’s a matter of pride for the country. He has worked hard and I am happy that he helped the country end the medal draught,” Prabhdeep said, who works at Punjab and Sind Bank in Jalandhar.
“I celebrated with friends and family. But the real celebrations will be when he returns from Korea. I have been in regular touch with him on whatsapp. He is returning day after tomorrow that is when the real celebrations will begin,” Prabhdeep said.