The 30-year-old announced his retirement from international hockey on September 30.
One of the pillars of the Indian hockey team, Rupinder Pal Singh recently announced his retirement from international hockey. He is known for his drag flicks and is considered among the best in the world. The defender was a member of the Indian team which won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics after a gap of 41 years.
Rupinder Pal Singh took up the sport at a very young age and since then he has made large strides in his career. He made his debut for the national team in 2010 in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and played a vital role for his team in winning the tournament. A year later, in the same tournament, he emerged as the highest goal scorer, which also included a hattrick against Great Britain.
After serving the nation for more than 10 years, he finally decided to bid adieu to the sport at the age of 30 and make way for the youngsters. Celebrating Rupinder Pal Singh’s amazing career, let’s look at his top five achievements.
5. Success in Asian Champions Trophy
Asian Champions Trophy is one of the tournaments from where Rupinder’s career took off. He won two gold and a silver medal while participating in this competition. The best came in 2016 where Rupinder Pal Singh just not helped his side to secure a gold medal but also won the best player of the tournament award. He was the top scorer in the competition.
The Indian defender created history in a league stage match against Japan as he converted six penalty corners into goals. India defeated Japan by a heavy margin of 10-2 in that match.
4. Silver medal at 2013 Asia Cup
Rupinder Pal Singh became a regular member of the national team and also the go-to man for skippers whenever there is a penalty to strike. He was a very unorthodox player but his technique always proved fruitful.
During his early days at the international level, he was known for his consistency to score goals. He knew how to handle pressure in extreme situations. During the Asia cup, he performed brilliantly and helped his side to win the silver medal.
3. Commonwealth Games silver medallist
The Indian defender carried his form from the previous tournaments to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. His strong defensive work and long passes played a crucial role for the Indian team in the tournament. He scored a total of six goals in the competition and helped his side to reach the final.
Rupinder Pas Singh proved his consistency by scoring at least one goal in every match. His drag flicks also played a major role in getting those crucial goals, which helped his side to secure a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games.
2. Gold medal at Asian Games
Rupinder Pal Singh was at his peak in 2014. He became the vice-captain of the Indian team during the Hockey World Cup. The defender also helped his side win a series against New Zealand by scoring four goals in three matches. His stellar performances dominated the whole year.
He never missed an opportunity to perform and won laurels for his team. Rupinder won a gold medal with the Indian team in the 2014 Asian games. He followed it up with a bronze medal in the 2018 edition. These were the years where his drag flicks and exceptional defending produced great results for the team.
1. Historic medal at the Tokyo Olympics
Tokyo Olympics is one of the biggest highlights of Rupinder Pal Singh’s career. India went through a lot of ups and downs in the tournament and ended up creating history, with Rupinder scoring six goals in the process. The Men in Blue finished at the second place in the group stage, with just a solitary defeat in five matches. They then went on to defeat Great Britain in the quarterfinals.
Despite a defeat to Belgium in the semi-finals, the Indians made amends with a thrilling victory over Germany. Rupinder was pivotal to India’s success against Germany as he converted an important penalty stroke into a goal against Germany to help his side secure the bronze medal.
Rupinder Pal Singh became a part of history as the Indian hockey team ended a medal drought at the Olympics after more than 40 years.