Updated: October 30, 2021 1:04:29 pm
The past one month has seen Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi fighting all the opposition in some sections of Punjab Congress after his appointment as Punjab CM. On Saturday morning, the 58-year-old donned the role of a goal-keeper to thwart attacks of former Indian hockey player Prabhjot Singh and also sought tips from former Indian hockey goal-keeper Baljit Singh Dadhwal during a 45-minute long training session in a visit to the International Hockey Stadium in Mohali.
Channi, who had played handball at college and university level apart from representing Panjab University at national level during his college days, also spent time with the hockey trainees apart from undergoing a 45-minute long training session with Prabhjot and Baljit earning praise from Baljit, who was once ranked fourth in world’s best goal-keepers.
“Punjab CM Charanjit Channi paji had come to the International Hockey Academy today morning. After spending time with the hockey trainees, he asked us to let him try goal-keeping. We knew that he was a very good handball player during his college days and plays the sport sometimes even now. The first challenge was to make him wear the bulky goal-keeping kit but he once he got used to the kit, he enjoyed goal-keeping. He asked me about lot of technicalities like goal scoring angles of the drag-flicker as well how to handle the aerial ball. His hand eye coordination is very good and he displayed that during the training session,” shared Dadhwal while speaking with The Indian Express.
While Channi has former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh in his cabinet as the state sports and education minister, the Chamkaur Sahib MLA had made a visit to a sports academy for the first time since he assumed charge as Punjab CM. Apart from the International Hockey Stadium, Mohali also sees the presence of Punjab Institute of Sports, which has seen the emergence of many national and international medalists in recent years. Channi looked at ease saving penalty corners from former Indian hockey player Prabhjot Singh.
Prabhjot, who had played in more than 200 international matches during his India career, was also impressed with Channi’s quick reflexes. “Initially I had thought it would be easy for me to score goals against him. We knew that he used to be a handball and volleyball player but he told us that he was the goal-keeper in the handball team. So it helped him during the training session. I took 20-25 penalty strokes and 20-25 hits and he almost saved most. His left hand is very strong and he used it well to stop my hits. To see Punjab CM practice like this gives us hope that he will take steps to improve sports in the state and we wish him all the best,” said Prabhjot.
The International Hockey Stadium at Mohali has only hosted some matches of the Hockey India League and international hockey has not been held at the stadium since it was constructed in 2012. Dadhwal was of the view that Punjab government can support hosting of international hockey tournaments like Orissa. “Having such a stadium and not able to see any international hockey here is unfortunate for the hockey lovers. Punjab always leads in having the best talent in hockey in the country and we saw this with 11 players from Punjab in the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal winning Indian hockey team. It will be good if Punjab government comes to support and hosting some FIH International events here,” said Dadhwal.
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