‘Surreal feeling’ – Sukhjeet Singh on being picked for maiden Asian Games appearance
The Jalandhar lad has 43 international caps and 13 goals to his name.
Indian men’s hockey team forward Sukhjeet Singh considers it a great honour to have the chance to represent India at the upcoming 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022. This will be the Jalandhar-born hockey player’s maiden appearance at the crucial event.
The 26-year-old shared his thoughts of playing in his first Asian Games. He said, “It feels surreal that I will be representing India at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022. I feel proud that I will be donning India’s jersey at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022. Everyone in my family was elated to hear the news that I was part of the team.
“It was my father’s dream to see me playing at the highest level, and I am here now. It’s a feeling that I cannot express in words. It is all due to my sincere efforts and good wishes of my family members that I am here and representing India at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022.”
“The preparations have been going well under the guidance of Craig Fulton. We have been working on our weaknesses and making sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again. I have been with the team for the last one and a half years and the senior players in the squad are very approachable and we can always reach out to them whenever any of us are facing any difficulty.
“They guide us properly and help us in improving our game. For me personally, I am working on improving my skills and shooting techniques,” he added.
With a chance to earn a direct Paris Olympics 2024 qualification, the Indian men’s hockey team will open their 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 campaign against Uzbekistan on 24 September 2023.
Speaking about representing the country at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 and facing quality teams, the forward player said, “Our aim is only on the Gold Medal. We know what is at stake here and we will not be taking anything for granted. There are some strong teams, and we cannot let our guard down in any of the matches. We have to treat each match as Final and give our everything each time we are on the field.”
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“After winning the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, the confidence is high among the players and I hope that we can continue this momentum going into the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022. Before the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, we also played the 4 Nations Tournament in Terrassa against teams like the Netherlands, England, and Spain. That will certainly help us,” he added.
Sukhjeet credits his success in hockey to his father, who has stood with him through thick and thin. He recalls, “I remember I was only five or six years old when my father gave me the hockey stick. My father struggled a lot when he was playing and he didn’t want me to face any issues which he faced.
“He always believed in me and kept on motivating me. He used to take me to the ground for my training after his shift used to get over. He has sacrificed a lot for me, and I cannot thank him enough. He will always be my role model.”
The flamboyant forward player started playing hockey when he was six after his father Ajit Singh, a former hockey player for Punjab Police, motivated him to pick up the stick. Sukhjeet got his maiden call-up for the Senior National camp in 2018, but couldn’t secure his place after sustaining a back injury.
He made a comeback to the National set-up in 2021 and went on to make his Senior team debut at the FIH Hockey Pro League in the 2021-2022 season. So far, Sukhjeet Singh has 43 international caps and 13 goals to his name.