Early on Monday,former Chandigarh Hockey and Football trainee goalie Harjot Singh was eagerly waiting for the announcement of the 18-member Indian senior hockey team for the Asian Champions trophy to be played in Japan from November 2. The lanky 19-year-old,who played a stellar role in Indian junior teams title win in the Sultan of Johar Cup last month,was not only waiting for his name to be announced but was also praying for long-time teammate and friend Gurjinder Singhs inclusion in the senior team. A couple of hours later,Harjot and Gurjinder found their name along with youngster Harjeet Singh from Kurali in the Indian senior hockey team for Asian Champions trophy and the troika were already making plans for Tuesdays training session.
Its a dream come true for us. I have been playing as a goalie in the Indian junior team for some time now but I was missing the presence of Gurjinder in the team. He is one of Indias top rated drag-flicker and his presence in the camp also lifts my performance. I am happy that he has recovered from the elbow injury and we two will be spending time honing my goal-keeping and his drag-flicking skills. We two have played together for the last eight years. Also the last few days with goal-keeping coach Dave Staniforth has helped my game a lot, said Harjot Singh,who hails from Amloh village near Fatehgarh Sahib. He is a pass out of CHFA in 2010. If Harjot was the goal custodian of the Indian junior team,youngster Harjeet Singh of Kurali,whose father works as a daily labourer in Niholika village,was adjudged as the most promising player of the Sultan of Johar Cup held in Malaysia. Harjeet,who started hockey at Gopal Hockey Academy,Kurali under coach Amritpal was part of the Punjab team which won junior national title for the last two years and has so far played in four tournaments for the Indian junior team.
The news came as a surprise for most of us. We have been preparing for the junior world cup and when our names were announced for the senior team,we were surprised. But it is a good opportunity for all of us and we will give our best performance. The promising player trophy in Sultan of Johar Cup was a big motivation for me. My father was very happy to know about my selection, said 17-year-old Harjeet,whose sister Sandeep Kaur is a hockey palyer too and plays for Chandigarh. It will also mark the return of drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh Saini to the Indian senior hockey team after a three-month layoff due to an elbow injury. The former CHFA pass-out and a former student of Government Model Senior Secondary School,Sector 35,was declared the player of tournament in 2011 World Series of Hockey before he returned to Hockey India fold. Inclusion in the Indian senior hockey team will boost my confidence. I was troubled by the elbow injury but now I am fit. I spent some time with drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and his tips have been very helpful. I played for the Indian junior team during the Europe tour in June early this year and I want to cement my place in junior team as well as the senior team, said Gurjinder,who scored six goals during the Europe tour.