India Hockey Star Raj Kumar Pal made his India debut against World number one champions Belgium during the FIH Hockey Pro-League back in February.
What made Kumar stand out was the confidence he displayed with high intensity of play with his experienced teammates, and for like 60 minutes or thereabouts, he showed a high level of professionalism and showed no glimpses of a newcomer in the squad.
The Chief Coach, Graham Reid has, however, handed Kumar the responsibility of breaking Belgium defense and he never let the coach down by putting up an impressive display by making dangerous moves, bursting forward, and making timely and relevant tackles as well as creating tons of scoring opportunities.
The 21-year old revealed that his sole aim was carrying out the duties dished to him by the coach as he also said playing against the World Champions was his first-ever international match and was the most significant moment of his career, and he wants to ensure he lives up to the expectation. Kumar Pal is currently part of the team in the ongoing National Coaching Camp for Senior Men’s Hockey Team in Bengaluru.
Raj Kumar Pal hails from Karampur village in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh before breaking through at the U-14 tournament in luck now a decade ago.
He got his first call up to the National Camp in 2018, but he later revealed it took him a while to adjust to the training, techniques, and intensity and sensibility of the game. But he feels he has changed and improved his game as well and hopes to replicate the higher performance and success during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Written by: Olumide Akinnifesi