Olympian and former India captain Viren Rasquinha on Tuesday announced his retirement from international hockey here to pursue his education.
The midfielder, an Arjuna Awardee, represented the country for eight years and also led the Maratha Warriors team in the Premier Hockey League from 2004 till 2007.
Rasquinha said he wanted to do his Masters in Business Administration and was preparing for that for the last six months and had secured admission at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
"I wouldn't be available for the Beijing Olympics (later this year) and I have informed the IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) and Indian coach Joaquim Carvalho about my decision," Rasquinha said at a press conference.
He felt it was time for him to move ahead in life and face new challenges and added that he played for India with pride and dignity and wished to retire in the same manner.
"I have nothing but fond memories of my association with the Indian hockey and it was an extremely hard decision for me, but now I have to move ahead," he said.
Rasquinha said one of his best memories was when he was part of the team that won the junior World Cup at Hobart, Tasmania, in 2001.
He added that the Arjuna Award he recieved in 2005 would always remain close to his heart.
The 27-year-old player said there were plenty of highs and lows in his career but the good memories of the game outweighed the bad ones.
"The loss against Holland in the Amstelveen Champions Trophy hit us really hard as we were leading 3-0 and lost the match 4-3. The loss against Pakistan in the Cologne Champions Trophy put me down," Rasquinha said.
"However, I would remember the match against Pakistan where we were losing and Gagan Ajit Singh brought us back in the game. I also enjoyed my stint as the captain of the national team - it was a different experience altogether and a proud moment for me," the ex-national skipper said.
The international said he was a practical man now and had thought long and hard before taking this decision.
"For the first time I have taken the decision with my mind and not my heart," he added.
His father Eric said, "Viren was studying for 14-16 hours a day to get into ISB, he felt he played long enough and it started taking a toll on his body and had to take this decison some day."
Rasquinha said even though he would not be a part of the national side competing in the Olympics, he would support the team in whichever possible way.