For those who have followed Indian hockey for over a century, a particular village will always bring back fond memories. Sansarpur in Punjab finds mention in many record books, as many as seven players from the village once played in the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. The numbers of players from though, has dwindled dramatically over the years.
Since Ravipal played for the Indian team over a decade ago, Sansarpur’s assembly line has dried up.
However, there was something to cheer about for Sansarpur on Wednesday. When the team was announced for the men’s Hockey World Cup to be held in the Netherlands from May 31, Jasjit Singh Kular, a surprise selection having his roots in the village, made it to the Indian team.
“It’s always on our mind that we belong to the village. I trained at the village but once my father moved to Jalandhar, I too moved with him. But I visit my village almost every other week and for three months in a year I stay with my grandfather. Earlier this year we played in a tournament organised at our village,” 24-year-old Jasjit, who is the only player in the World Cup team who has not played at the international level, said.
A promising forward, Jasjit was a regular member in the Punjab junior teams and was also named in the Indian probables camp for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2010.
The following year, the youngster joined the rival World Series of Hockey and played for the Chandigarh team. Last year, he was inducted into the Hockey India fold.
Sansarpur, a village six kilometres from Jalandhar, Punjab, has so far produced 14 Olympians, with nine of them playing for India, four for Kenya and one for Canada.
Such was the dominance of the village players during the 1960s and 1970s that six players played in 1964 Olympics (four for India and two for Kenya) before seven players (five for India and two for Kenya) from the village played in the 1968 Olympics.