On Thursday,when Rupinder Pal Singh came to Chandigarh from New Delhi after attending a function,the 22-year-old called up his Indian teammate Dharamveer Singh,who had come to the city for getting his passport renewed. The duo shared a laugh and Dharamveer asked Rupinder to get his passport extended to 60 pages. Seeing Rupinders form over the last three months,it seems that Rupinder would soon need that in the coming months as the lanky former Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy trainee has emerged as a vital part in the Indian hockey team. Rupinder finished as the highest scorer of the tournament along with hosts Malaysias Faizal Sari with six goals each in the recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia,where the Indian hockey team finished fifth.
I am happy with my performance. It was a team full of youngsters and we are satisfied with our performance. Skipper Sardar Singh was rested for this tournament and it was our responsibility to guide youngsters like Mandeep. Even though we finished fifth in the tournament,I am glad that I became the top scorer of the tournament. It was a tough challenge facing teams like Australia and Pakistan,and I am sure this performance will motivate me a lot. The two wins against Pakistan in the tournament were special, said the youngster,who graduated from the Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy in 2008.
Last December,Rupinder was also one of Indias top scorers in the Asian Champions Trophy,an event in which he scored four goals,including one goal against Pakistan in the final. The fine performance meant that the youngster was picked up for a whopping sum of $56,000 by the Delhi Waveriders for the Indian Hockey League,and he proved his worth scoring eight goals for the team,which finished second in the league. I was surprised when the Delhi side picked me up for such a huge money. But the tournament gave me a good platform to hone my skills. Spending time with players like Sardar Singh and Nicolas Jacobi made me improve my game a lot and it showed in my performance. Even though we lost to Ranchi in the final,the team had a good run in the tournament, he said.
The Indian hockey team will take a two-month break before they take part in the World Hockey league Round Three to be played in the Netherlands in June later this year and the youngster is geared up for the event. We have been playing constant hockey for the last five months. This break will do us good. The World Hockey league Round Three will be played in the Netherlands,and we need to adjust to the conditions in Europe at that time. Its a good format and it will also help us gauge European teams. I am looking forward to the challenge, said Rupinder,who studied at GMSSS-35 and GMSSS-42.