Senior players gave me confidence to play without fear, says Manpreet Singh
Manpreet Singh has credited his seniors for grooming him into a fine player in the Indian men’s national field hockey team.
The hockey captain discussed his growth into the national setup on Hockey India's podcast series 'Hockey Te Charcha'. “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," Manpreet said.
"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 29-year-old added.
Manpreet Singh, who hails from Mithapur in Jalandhar, Punjab, has developed into one of the core members in the national setup since his debut in 2011, winning gold in the Asian Games (2011,2014) and the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy. He also played a strong role in India's hard-fought Bronze medal-winning campaigns in the 2015 and 2017 editions of the FIH World League.
Manpreet, who took over the role of captain from P.R. Sreejesh in 2017, has made it clear that there is no distinction between his teammates. “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," the 29-year-old said.
"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,” Manpreet Singh added.
Besides being named as captain of the Indian men's national hockey team that will participate in Tokyo 2020, Manpreet Singh will be the flag bearer for India in the opening ceremony of the Summer Games alongside legendary boxer MC Mary Kom.
“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,” Manpreet said.
Featured photo: SAI Media