Former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh has urged Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to build a world-class rehabilitation centre for sportspersons in the country.
No one better than Sandeep can understand the significance of a world-class rehab centre in the country after his career almost fell apart following a stray accident.
Sandeep was left almost paralysed after he was accidentally shot inside the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express in 2006 while he was on his way to join the national squad for the FIH World Cup in Germany.
Even though the bullet fractured his rib, spine, kidneys and liver, Sandeep made an unbelievable comeback to the national team after a gap of almost two years before leading the side in 2009.
Asked Sandeep about the episode, he just wishes no athlete should go through such a phase.
“I just wish no athlete should encounter what I went through in my life. I have seen it all,” Sandeep old PTI.
“I just want our government to make a world-class rehab centre in the country for sportspersons’ recovery. I would request the Sports Minister personally to address the issue because he himself being a sportsperson would understand their hardships.”
Sandeep, the highest goal-scorer of the country in hockey, urged the government to take a cue from the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) on this matter.
“The government is supporting the injured athletes for their recovery in every aspect but I feel if we have a world-class rehab facility in India, then there is no need to go abroad,” the dragflick specialist said.
“The government is spending so much on sports and I want the government to just set an example in this regard. We should take the example from BCCI who has a world-class rehab facility in NCA in Bangalore,” he added.
Sandeep’s journey has been immortalised in yet to be released Bollywood biopic named “Soorma”, which has popular Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh in the lead role along side Taapsee Pannu.
The film is scheduled to be released on June 29. “The film is about my journey. It is about my story, my struggle, my family’s struggle. It has a message for youngsters and parents,” Sandeep said.
Asked about the current Indian hockey team, Sandeep said he won’t be surprised if they return with a medal from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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“They are really doing very good but what I feel is that they lack self-belief,” he said.
“But having said that I won’t be shocked if India win a medal in Tokyo.”