#MensHockeyTeam: Bring on the bronze brigade!
After winning a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, the men’s hockey team is back in the country to celebrate their victory. From eating yummy home food to meeting their loved ones, they are all set to welcome what lies ahead.
Manpreet Singh: Mummy ke haath ki roti khani hai, phir paharganj ke chhole bhature
“Pehle toh mummy ke haath ki roti khani hai, phir Paharganj ke Chhole Bhature,” laughs Manpreet Singh, captain of the men’s hockey team, on a stopover in the Capital after the team’s bronze win. He dedicated the medal to doctors and other Covid frontline warriors. “Last year humari team ke liye achha aur bura bhi tha. Main Covid positive ho gaya tha. Jab aisa hota hai ho bahut negative thoughts aate hain, ki aap kaise recover karenge. Par meri team aur federation ne mujhe akela mehsoos nahin hone diya. Hum apni family se six months dur the, par humari bonding strong hui. Humne ek dusre ke background aur struggles ke baare mein jana. Kya sacrifices karke woh pahunche hain. Sabko pata tha kuch paana hai toh kuchh khona hoga,” he says.
Simranjeet Singh: Sabse pehle main apni mom ko phone kiya
As soon as he won the match, his mother’s sacrifices over the years came rushing back to the midfielder’s mind. “Sabse pehle maine apni mom ko phone kiya, medal jeetne ke baad. Jitne sacrifices maine kiye hain, unhone bhi utne hi kiye hain humari jeet ke liye. Main unse nahin mila tha dedh saal se. She started crying on hearing my voice. I couldn’t show my emotions though I was also crying, toh main dressing room mein chala gaya tha,” he says. While he loves every part of the sport, it’s the indoor meetings which get to him. “Sab kuchh achha lagta hai hockey ka. But yeh jo khel ki wajah se meetings hoti hain, woh nahin achhi lagti,” he laughs.
Harmanpreet Singh: Time to enjoy desi ghee, makhan aur parathe
The defender, who learned hockey tricks because of the way he changed gears in a tractor, says, “Main farmers ki family se hun. Meri family ne yehi sikhaya ki jis cheez pe focus krming strength ka kaam hai. ar rahe ho distract nahin hona usse. Abhi humein aur achha karna hai, aane wale Commonwealth Games mein.”The country is enjoying the team’s glory, but Singh, like his teammates, is waiting to indulge in his favourites. “India enjoy Humein time nahin mila enjoy karne ka. Ab toh momen kar raha hai iss moment ko. t aa gaya hai Punjab mein desi ghee, makhan aur paranthe khane ka. Kaafi time se avoid kar rahe hain. Life mein taste nahin tha abhi tak. Ghar par sab pagal huye pade hain... Jab ghar jaayenge toh bahut crowd hone wala hai,” he adds.
Rupinder Pal Singh: Jab medal mil gaya, toh laga ab wapas jaana hai
After being cooped up in the Bengaluru camp for so long, being in Tokyo was a good change, says the defender. “We felt we could stay there for months. Lekin jab medal mil gaya, tab ho gaya ki abhi wapas jana hai,” he says. Staying in a bio bubble to train wasn’t easy. “It’s tough for people to understand, but you need a break. We were training in the morning and evening. Olympics ka pata nahin tha hone hain ya nahin, yeh questions aa rahe they ki hum yeh kyun kar rahe hain!” he recalls.
Mandeep Singh: Family se dur tha, par yahaan bhi family hai
It was a tough ride for the forward player as he, too, was down with Covid-19 while preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Bahut mushkil tha jab mujhe Covid hua. But team ne support kiya. Family se dur they, par yeh tha ki ek aur family humari yahan bhi hai, humari team,” he smiles. The players have become quite an inspiration for the youth of India, but Singh says for him the goal is always the promotion of the sport. He adds, “Humara kaam tha hockey ko upar leke aana. Sport upar jana chahiye aur ab woh upar jaa raha hai!”