It is a moment of pride for the district. Hockey player Rupinder Pal Singh will join the 16-member national squad bound for the Rio Olympics, announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The 25-year-old is regarded as one of the best drag flickers in the world and was part of the team that won gold in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Hockey is in Rupinder Pal’s blood. His father Harinder said the hockey player started playing the game aged eight. Harinder ran a sport goods shop and was a school-level hockey player. Elder brother Amarbir has represented the state in hockey. He is related to international Gagan Ajit Singh from Ferozepur, who represented India in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics.
Rupinder Pal coached under Harbans Singh at the Baba Farid Hockey Academy and has trained at the hockey academy in Ferozepur under coach Ajit Singh.
Also a product of the Chandigarh Hockey Academy, he debuted for India at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2010. He was also awarded Rs 50 lakh for being the most valuable player at the Hockey India League in 2016.
Rupinder Pal is a branch manager at Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai. He said he will return if the Punjab government gives him a respectable job. He hopes for Olympic glory in his debut, and said will give it his best shot.