Ravipal Singh’s 2005 India debut at the Rabo Cup in Holland ended a 28-year-old wait for Sansarpur. The 28-year-old,part of the victorious Indian team at the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) last year,grew up in the village boasting of 12 Olympians,and Ravipal admits the history motivated him to pick up the game.
Playing for Karnataka Lions in the World Series Hockey,the playmaker has been vital to the team’s fortunes,even though his team lost their last league match 1-6 to Chandigarh Comets on Thursday. The result,however,was inconsequential,with both teams having virtualy qualified for the semi-finals.
A regular in the junior team,Ravipal was also part of the Indian team at the 2005 Champions Trophy. He was overlooked for the national team after that but recalled after the 2008 Chile disaster,when India failed to qualify for the Beijng Olympics. Since then,he remained part of the Indian squad at the 2010 World Cup,Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
Having made five comebacks in his brief international career,Ravipal has not lost hope of representing India in Olympics. The fact that I grew up in Sansarpur always boosts my confidence and it is still a dream to represent India in Olympics at some point. I want to prove my worth and that there is still a lot of hockey left in me, he says.
I am fit and enjoying my game and even if I have to prolong my career till 2016,I will for a chance to play the Olympics. Some say it’s the curse of number 13. But I feel whoever becomes the 13th Olympian from Sansarpur will inspire many others to follow suit, Ravipal says. On Thursday,Gurjinder Singh scored four goals in Chandigarh’s win to take his tally to 18 goals in the tournament. Ramandeep Singh and Belsajar Horo scored the other two goals while Sandeep Singh scored the lone goal for Karnataka.
Strykers strike late
In Bhopal,Pune Strykers produced a stunning comeback performance winning their final league match against Bhopal Badshahs 5-4 after being 4-1 down.Pune surged through penalty corner conversions from Gurpreet Singh (53rd),Simrandeep Randhawa (55th and 59th) before Birendra Lakra sealed the deal with a 67th minute strike.