Gurinder Singh‘s dream has been to represent his country at the Olympics and the India men’s hockey team defender is leaving no stone unturned to make it a reality. Also Read - Honoured And Overwhelmed: Rani Rampal on Khel Ratna Nomination
Gurinder was part of the India junior team that won the gold medal at the Junior Hockey World Cup in 2016 and since making the promotion to the senior squad, his has been a roller-coaster ride. Also Read - Indian Women's Captain Rani Rampal Nominated For Khel Ratna Award as Hockey India Announces Recommendations For Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award
His immediate goal is to become a team regular first. “I am working extremely hard to book a place in the Indian team for the Olympics at the moment,” he said. “Keeping myself fit is my number one priority during the lockdown period and I am carrying out some stickwork drills as well. Playing for India at the Olympics has been a dream since childhood and hopefully, I will make it to the squad and contribute to India winning a medal at the quadrennial event.” Also Read - When Balbir Singh Senior Played 1956 Olympic Final Against Pakistan With a Broken Finger
While the title win at the junior world cup was a turning point for his career, Gurinder admits he has missed out on a few important competitions due to inconsistent performaces.
“The gold-medal victory at the men’s hockey junior world cup in 2016 was a big turning point for me,” the 25-year-old said. “My performances were noticed and eventually, I made my way to the senior team. I have gone through a lot of ups and downs since making my senior team debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2017. I have been part of the squad for big tournaments such as the Commonwealth Games in 2018, but I have missed out on a few competitions as well.”
He continued, “It was great to return to the squad for FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Australia earlier this year. I have learned a lot about my game in the last three years and therefore I am in a good position to build on my skills and look to make a bigger impact on our matches in the future.”
On the impact chief coach Graham Reid has made on the hockey team, Gurinder reckons the approach has become more aggressive and as a result they are creating more goal-scoring chances.
“It’s been over a year since Reid has joined us and I am sure one can see the difference he has brought to the side since April last year. We have become much more aggressive in our approach and therefore we are creating many more goal-scoring opportunities,” he said.
It was amazing to see him shift focus from working on team tactics to the development of each and every player during the senior men national coaching camp in November last year. Since there was a lot of time to prepare for the next tournament after the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, Reid spent time with all players and ensured that we improved on certain aspects during the camp,” Gurinder added.