FIH Olympic Qualifiers | Feels good to be back for major tournament, says Rupinder Pal Singh

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Hockey India

FIH Olympic Qualifiers | Feels good to be back for major tournament, says Rupinder Pal Singh

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SportsCafe Desk

10/29/2019

Indian defender Rupinder Pal Singh has expressed that he is feeling good to get back into the Indian men’s team for the FIH Olympic Qualifier matches which will be played next month. Rupinder also talked about the tough times when he was dropped and the advantage of juniors doing well for the team.

After the Indian men’s hockey team lost in the semi-finals of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta against Malaysia, Rupinder Pal Singh was shown the doors and the senior drag-flicker was not even a part of the Indian team for the World Cup in Bhubaneswar in December last year. Rupinder has expressed that that was a tough time for him and he even thought about taking retirement at a young age of 28.

"It was a difficult phase. First, I was injured and then I worked hard to recover and regain fitness. It wasn't enough and despite my best efforts I couldn't make my way back into the team after recovery. Also, rehabilitation robbed me of precious time and I had to play catch-up with players who were training regularly. I think that phase is past me. Now, it feels good to be back in the team for a major tournament," Rupinder told TOI.

“When you are fighting physical battles and then don't find a place in the team, negativity is bound to creep in. It happened with me as well. But thankfully, that period did not last long because of the support system I have, especially my family and friends. They kept telling me, and still tell me, that I have a lot of hockey left in me."

Rupinder had made his international debut back in 2008 and is one of the senior members in the Olympic Qualifiers squad. India will meet Russia in the two games with an aim of making it to the sporting extravaganza which will be played in Tokyo, Japan next year. Both the matches against Russia will be played at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. Before the FIH Series Finals in June, the Punjab born hockey player was picked in the national side for the tour to Australia in May.

"I take it one tournament at a time and the goal is to win matches for India. I'm sure my performance for the team will speak for itself," the senior defender explained.

"I embraced the fact that everyone has to face bad times, just the way we enjoy the good moments. Among the things that helped me tide over the circumstances was motivational videos I watched regularly. That helped me focus on making my way back into the team."

When asked about the junior players doing well in recent times, Rupinder replied, “It's healthy competition when the juniors come in. It works to my advantage as well because I feed of their energy and they also push me to work harder.”

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