The 21-year-old spoke about the importance of fitness in modern hockey.

With 20 International caps to his name, Indian men’s hockey team player Gursahibjit Singh is one for the future. Having made his debut for the senior team at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2019, the young forward has since scored a total of six goals and has been part of some memorable wins of the Indian team.

His most notable achievement came during the Olympic Test Event held in Tokyo in August 2019, where he scored three goals, including one in the final against New Zealand.

Ambitious by nature, Gursahibjit Singh sees this start to his career as a positive one. He remarked, “When I was playing back at home in Gurdaspur, Punjab, I didn’t think I would one day be a part of the national team. I started playing because I used to like the sport, but playing it professionally? I wasn’t really sure. However, as fate would have it, I happened to play well and slowly understood a lot of technical things about our sport that led me to win some excellent accolades in my formative years.”

Plenty of chances but no finished product

“Since then I have come a long way, and now I would say I’m definitely planning to become one of the best strikers in the world. I have some amazing people here in the team who have certainly helped me grow – my coaches and teammates have always understood how I like to play my hockey, but I think there’s still so much for me to learn and then put into execution to be able to achieve my huge ambitions with the country.”

He was also a nominee for the Hockey India Jugraj Singh Upcoming Player of the Year 2019 Award at the Hockey India 3rd Annual Awards held earlier this year.

Having had time to address a variety of key areas, Gursahibjit Singh believes that physical strength plays an important role for an international striker. The youngster said, “In the past, we used to have silky players who would make their way between defenders and showcase their skill to score the goals, but I believe hockey has changed a lot over the years. In modern hockey, you have to be strong if you are a striker or an attacking player.”

“You have very tight and limited spaces on the pitch, and once you have the ball, or even if you’re making some runs, you have to have a physical presence which troubles the opposition, and having that strength and muscle is something I’ve been trying to work on these past few months.”

Referring to this current period as a golden opportunity, Gursahibjit added that he believes having the time to improve in multiple facets of the game can help him find a regular spot in the Indian team.

“I have always been a quick learner, and I want to make sure I am learning something or the other every single day. We have a lot of things to look forward to, including the biggest tournament – the Olympic Games. So I am giving my 100% in each session, whether it is on the hockey pitch or in the gym, I am eager to keep improving in all areas. I know there is no substitute for hard work and I will be making sure I am taking all the opportunities I get,” he concluded.