Just two years after moving from her native Shahbad in Haryana to Fatehgarh Sahib to train under Baldev Singh, Amarinder Kaur, 16, has led the state’s under-19 team to win the title at the 61st National School Games held from December 25-30 in Bhopal.
The captain of the victorious team, she had now gained fame and recently even appeared in Amitabh Bachchan’s show ‘Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi’. Even as the victory over Uttar Pradesh in the finals tasted sweet, its margin a whopping 13-0 still remains the icing on the cake.
Amarinder was declared the best player of the tournament for being the highest scorer.
Harinder Kaur Harry, manager of the team, who accompanied them to Bhopal, said, “The opposition seemed demoralised even as the match had not even been played halfway. This was a proud moment.”
Belonging to a lower middle-class family, Amarinder along with other players came to Fatehgarh Sahib around two years ago with her coach Dronacharya awardee, Baldev Singh who was working in Haryana sports department.
Baldev Singh then established an academy which is run by Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak committee.
All girls who played during the tournament are from Fatehgarh Sahib taking coaching from Baldev Singh.
Amarinder’s grandfather would take her to Shahbad where Baldev Singh used to run an academy after crossing a distance of 8 km from her native Dhantori Village to develop her interest in Hockey.
“He would never allow me to take leave even when the conditions were not favourable. Be it cold or rain, he would always accompany me to the ground which is why hockey has become an integral part of my life now,” said Amarinder.
Ask if she misses her family, she confidently says, “I do not have the time to miss them, I am always doing practice and by the end of the day, I get so tired that I sleep.”
Baldev Singh on his part, claims that Amarinder is a unique talent. “Amarinder us unique and is very devoted to the game. I can bet that future of Punjab’s hockey is bright and the only requirement is the right direction,” Baldev said.
“It is sad that the girls who have won a gold medal have not received anything from the Punjab government whereas Haryana government gives Rs 70,000 to such players. These athletes need to be encouraged for their efforts and fuel their passion for the game,” he added.
Baldev added that for consistent results, the girls needed to practice on astroturf and junk practice on normal ground. “It is the government’s responsibility to provide appropriate practice facility to players.”