Gurjant Singh has missed the 2018 Commonwealth games and the Asian Games in recent times. Hence the Junior World Cup winning striker is all set to perform his best at the Tokyo Olympics to get his career back in line after persistent injuries and drop in form.
The 26-year-old forward has been picked in the 16-member squad for the Men’s Hockey team which is selected for the Tokyo Olympics starting from July 23.
“I have missed the Asian Games and World Cup due to injuries. I had to sit back and follow the team from home and that was really painful. But I am hopeful I will make this opportunity count in Tokyo, and we are all set for the challenge,” Gurjant said.
He has shown his calibre in the Junior World Cup and later made his debut for India in 2017 against Belgium. He was also a part of the Indian team featuring at the Hero Asia Cup in Dhaka which they eventually won.
bUt a major drop in form meant Gurjant missed the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the following Asian Games. The forward was also dropped from the FIH Men’s World Cup squad as he suffered an injury that year.
“Though I was picked for the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat where I scored four goals, it was not until 2020 that I started proving my mettle in the squad.
“The goal I scored against the Netherlands in the FIH Hockey Pro League happened to the quickest goal for India and was also voted as the second-best FIH Hockey Pro League goal of 2020 by fans,” Gurjant said.
Gurjant had a fantastic Junior World Cup where he guided India to glory. He scored in the semifinals and also in the finals of the Junior World Cup in 2016. Those two goals, according to him, are his best feat as a hockey player.
“I will never forget 18 December 2016. That is the day we won the Junior World Cup title and so far, it’s been the greatest feat in my career. It was after this great win that people started noticing me,” he said.
The Indian team was confined to a national camp due to the pandemic as they could not conduct tours due to strict restrictions all over the world. Gurjant worked extremely hard during the camp and he pointed out how he has improved his defensive side of play this time.
“One of the key areas chief coach Graham Reid expected me to work on was my defence. He insists that good defence begins with the forwards and I really paid a lot of attention to improve my off-ball skills over the past year,” he concluded.