Simranjeet Singh looks to make it to Asian Games team upon return to core group

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Indian Men’s Hockey Team midfielder Simranjeet Singh in August 2021 proved his mettle at the grandest stage when he scored a brace to help his team post a 5-4 victory over Germany in Tokyo Olympics Bronze medal match, paving way for India’s return to the podium in Olympic Games after 41 years. 

But life was not the same for Simranjeet since then having suffered numerous injuries and missing some key tournaments including Hero Asia Cup in Jakarta and FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela which was held from 13 to 29 January 2023. Though he was part of the Asia Cup team, he returned home midway after playing the first match against Pakistan due to injury.

However, the 26-year-old mercurial talent has already taken his first step towards his return in the grand scheme of things as he was named in the 39-member Indian Men's Core group for the Hockey India National Coaching Camp which commenced on 1st April 2023 in SAI, Bengaluru. The camp will conclude on 21st May ahead of the team's trip to Europe where they will take on Belgium, Great Britain, Netherlands, and Argentina in the remaining season of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-2023. 

“I am super happy to return to the National Coaching Camp after struggling with injuries for quite some time,” Simranjeet said, before adding, “It was disheartening for me to miss the World Cup.”

Simranjeet also revealed that he took inspiration from Brazilian ace Neymar Jr to sail through the difficult period and make a comeback. “In sports, players can suffer injuries at any given moment but it depends on them how they deal with it and make a comeback.

"For me, Neymar served as an inspiration as despite getting injured numerous times, the Brazilian footballer has always made a strong comeback. Likewise, I also focused on regaining full fitness, did all the necessary things to make a comeback and most importantly, I never gave up.” 

Talking about his immediate goal, Simranjeet, who played a key role in India's Junior World Cup win in 2016, said, “I want to get selected in the team for the remaining season of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-2023.” 

“Moreover, I will focus on making it to the squad for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be played later this year. The tournament is crucial for us as it will give us an opportunity to directly qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and also assert our dominance in Asia.”

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