Mumbai: At 21, I was planning for my higher education, having recently graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree. I was clueless about most of the things. At 21, Harmanpreeet Singh, the rising superstar of Indian hockey has the world at his feet.
Not only did Harmanpreet made the cut for India’s Rio Olympics team, the hockey player – who has been plying trade for both senior and junior teams in major tournaments – played a major role in bringing home the Junior Hockey World Cup after 15 years.
Harmanpreet, however, is not satisfied. In his eyes you can see an insatiable hunger for success.
“I want to improve further,” said Harmanpreet speaking to Deccan Chronicle. “(I) Don't believe in looking too far ahead into the future, want to be focused on the present. I want to take it one step at a time.”
The youngster boasts an impressive CV but there are no prizes for guessing that the World Cup win is the most special of all.
“It was a great achievement to win the tournament (Junior Hockey World Cup) after such a long time. We had been preparing for the last two years for the trophy. We had worked very hard, especially on our fitness. We endured a lot of pain and sometimes it used to get very tough. But we are happy that we won the World Cup. The aim is to bring more laurels to the nation.”
Harmanpreet is focused on improving his game and is not bothered about which team he represents.
“The focus is only on my training and on improving my game. I am really not bothered about which team do I play for or in which tournament do I get to participate. If I continue playing good hockey and keep improving then I will get to play in the best of the tournaments.”
Asked about his guiding light, the promising drag-flicker had two names to give.
“Rupinder Pal Singh has always helped me a lot. He’s my senior and really experienced. Whenever I make a mistake, he guides me and helps me to correct it. I have also learnt a lot from VR Raghunath.”
Harmanpreet admitted that 2016 was a great year for Indian hockey and the team wants to make the nation proud.
“2016 was a great year for Indian hockey. We need to analyse our strengths and weaknesses and then we need to work on them to become a better team. In comparison to few years back, top teams have started taking the Indian team quite seriously. They prepare vigorously for matches against India.”
Hockey India league (HIL) has provided the opportunity for Indian players to rub shoulders with top international stars. Harmanpreet, who will be representing Dabang Mumbai, is excited about the upcoming tournament.
“The opportunity to play with top players from around the globe has helped Indian hockey players a lot. We get to learn different strategies and different styles of play. I am really excited and we hope to go the distance this time.”...