Australia-bound, 2 mates hope to stick together and shine
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When Dharamveer Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh leave for Australia on Wednesday early morning, the duo will not only be hoping to shine in their roles as a forward and drag flicker for the Indian team in the next Lanco International series and Champions trophy, but also aiming to repeat the camaraderie which helped them claim several titles during their stay at the Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy in Sector 42.
While Dharamveer made his senior debut for the Indian team in 2009, Rupinder Pal made his debut in 2010 before Dharamveer was sidelined due to an ankle injury and Rupinder because of poor form. But now the duo will be playing together once again in the Indian team and are hopeful of doing well in Australia.
"It's great that we two have been selected in the Indian team again. I was chosen for the Indian side for the London Olympics whereas Rupinder Pal missed the bus. But now we both have been named again in the team. Rupinder has been training along with me at the national camp at NIS, Patiala, for the last one month, and we are confident of doing well in the Lanco Series and the Champions trophy," says Dharamvir Singh, who belongs to Khairabad village near Ropar and was part of the Chandigarh academy for more than seven years.
If Dharamveer made his debut for the Indian senior team during the Canada tour in 2009, Rupinder Pal made his debut for the senior team in the 2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in 2010. Dharamveer was out of action due to a career-threatening knee injury after the Asian Games in 2010 and made his comeback early this year during the Azlan Shah Cup in May. Rupinder, however, was part of the Indian team which won the China Ordos Trophy in 2011 and was also part of the Indian hockey team for Olympic qualifiers.
"We two have played very less together in the senior team. But whatever opportunities we have got, we have excelled in them. When I missed the London Olympics team, Dharamveer spent some time with me and told me that I will make a comeback soon. The Lanco Series and Champions' Trophy is important for my career and I will aim to give it my best," says Rupinder Pal, who studied at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 42, and later at GMSSS-35.
Dharamveer and Rupinder, who now work with Indian Oil and Indian Overseas Bank respectively, are disappointed at not being offered any job by the Chandigarh administration. They now play from Punjab and Tamil Nadu in the nationals. "We still visit our academy in Sector 42 and still call Chandigarh our home. But the attitude of Chandigarh Administration has been disappointing. I won medals in CWG and Asian Games and yet they told me they do not have proof of me playing for Chandigarh. For over a decade, we played sub-junior as well as junior hockey for Chandigarh," says Dharamveer.
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