The Indian Men’s Hockey team will be looking to make a mark in the Tokyo Olympics and they will look up to their experienced leader Manpreet Singh. The Indian skipper has completed a decade with the team since his debut.
He recalls how the senior players present at the team helped him with his smooth integration into a new environment. The 29-year-old revealed his story in the podcast called Hockey Te Charcha. It is a podcast mainly made ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Manpreet said, “When I came into Team India for the first time there were so many stalwarts like Ignace Tirkey, Tushar Khandker, Shivendra Singh, Sardar Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Sarvanjit Singh and Sandeep Singh. All of these players gave me the confidence to play my own game without fear or anxiety. Even when I made some mistakes in the beginning, they gave me their full support and always encouraged me to express myself on the field without any fear. That was a great environment for a youngster like me to come into the National Team, ” the Indian skipper reminisced.
Manpreet has turned into one of the best in the world since his Indian team debut a decade ago. Manpreet has guided top quality teams which have won tournaments like the 2014 Asian Games, 2011 and 2018 Asian Champions Trophy and two hard-fought Bronze medals in the FIH World League in 2015 and 2017.
It was in 2017 that he was first named as captain of the Indian Men’s Hockey team. Under his reign, the Men in Blue have shown a steady rise in terms of quality and also in terms of ranking.
The 29-year-old who is a part of this India Men’s team’s core group highlights his style of leadership. He opined, ““I have picked up a lot from the experienced players and team Captains before me. We have a culture in this team where there is no distinction between senior players and junior players.
“Everyone in the team drives each other on to play without hesitation or fear. We support each other through on-field and off-field problems and always try to uplift the morale of the group. Even in this team, I always heed the advice and inputs of experienced players like PR Sreejesh, Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra as everyone is keen to help in the growth of the team,” he went on adding.
Manpreet started his hockey career with a lot of trouble. But now he is not only the Indian Men’s hockey team skipper but he will also be one of India’s flagbearers at the Tokyo Olympics. However the 29-year-old feels that he has more goals remaining which he would like to achieve.
“I have been blessed to have a great career in hockey thus far, but I still have two goals that I want to achieve in hockey. One of them is to win an Olympic medal for India, and the other is to win the Hockey World Cup. I continue to work hard for these goals and lead the team along with me to the best of my ability.”