‘It was a bad day for us, but also a learning point’: India defender Jarmanpreet Singh on CWG final 0-7 drubbing
Just when the expectations of an elusive gold medal were high, India endured one of its worst defeats against a formidable Australian unit.
The Indian men's hockey team had a good outing, if not excellent, at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, finishing as the runners-up. The team kicked-off the campaign with a resounding 11-0 win against Ghana, before being handed a reality check by hosts England in the following encounter. The Manpreet Singh-led unit squandered a three goal advantage in the final quarter of the match, which ended in a 4-4 draw.
The team then went to secure comfortable wins against Canada, Wales and South Africa, and just when the expectations of an elusive gold medal were high, the team endured one of its worst defeats against a formidable Australian unit, which saw India concede seven goals, while failing to secure even a single penalty corner in the 60 minutes.
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“I think it was a bad day for us because we were doing good right from day one. But at the same time this is a learning point too. We have a few months left to prepare for the World Cup and we'll focus on the areas that we need to improve,” defender Jarmanpreet Singh, who landed in India on Tuesday night, told hindustantimes.com over the phone.
“We won a silver at the Commonwealth Games, so it was a good outing for us. We learned a lot and there are a lot of areas that we have to work on and improve,” he added.
Jarmanpreet, who has been a vital cog since his India debut in 2018, was content with his performance in Birmingham, but believes in the old saying of there's always room for improvement. “I'm happy with my performance but I also feel there's still room for improvement. I think an overall improvement is required, because an individual cannot be perfect and everyday we learn new things,” he said.
Hockey's future in India
Ever since the success in Tokyo, the management have shifted their focus on the rising stars, as it was seen during the Asia Cup 2022 in Jakarta, where a second string unit returned with a bronze medal. The plan initially was similar for CWG as well before the Asian Games got postponed.
Jarmanpreet believes this is a good sign for both India and the sport. “We can see how prepared our youngsters are for the big events. So it's good for hockey and our country that we have a pool of youngsters who are very talented," he said.
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Apart from the feat at CWG, he has a silver medal at the 2018 Champions Trophy, a gold in the same year at the Asian Championships Trophy, which was only his second tournament after debut. The 26-year-old is sponsored by SportsApp, a platform which provides 360 degree support to athletes. Talking about his association, the defender said: “An athlete requires support and access to shine and rise to such heights. Working with them has made it easier for me as they exactly understand what an athlete needs at every point.”