The captain of the Indian Hockey Team for the Tokyo Olympics has been named as the flag bearer for India along with Mary Kom, the Bronze medallist of the London Olympics. Manpreet Singh became the first Indian Hockey player to be the flag bearer at the Olympics, following the former Indian hockey captain – Pargat Singh (1996 Atlanta Olympics). Both Manpreet Singh and Pargat Singh belong to the same village in Jalandhar – Mithapur. Manpreet Singh’s journey from Mithapur to the Olympics has been quite a remarkable one. Read on to know more about hockey player Manpreet Singh’s journey from Mithapur to Olympics.
Manpreet Singh’s Inspirational Journey from Jalandhar
Manpreet Singh was born in Mithapur, Jalandhar, a village on the outskirts of Jalandhar city. He was born into a family of farming businesses. In 2020, he got married to Najwa Saddique whom he had first met when the team had participated in the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2013. Manpreet Singh considered Indian Hockey captain Pargat Singh to be his inspiration. He started playing hockey at the age of 10. However, his mother was against this and used to lock him up in the room. The support from his family started when he won his first prize of INR 500 in a 2005 tournament. He then enrolled in a leading hockey academy – Surjit Hockey Academy, Jalandhar.
“My first inspiration to play the game came from Pargat Singh, the former captain of the Indian hockey team, and DSP of my district.”
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Journey to Success
It was in 2011 that Manpreet Singh made his international debut in the Indian junior team. Some of his other inspirations include – German captain, Moritz Furste, Sardar Singh. He is a great fan of Christiano Ronaldo and David Beckham and wears the same jersey number like them, ‘7’.
“He (Moritz Fürste) gave me a lot of tips about the game. And Sardar Singh inspires me with his style of playing.”
Manpreet Singh has played nearly 259 international matches for India. He started playing hockey on the insistence of his father Baljit Singh and elder brothers Amandeep Singh and Sukhraj Singh at the hockey stadium at Mithapur. Manpreet Singh then went on to play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2016. Just before the start of the tournament, his father passed away which came as a shocker for him. He rejoined the team after the funeral and the Indian team went on to win a bronze. Manpreet Singh had even won the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) player of the year award last year, becoming the first Indian player to win the award. This will be Manpreet’s third Olympics after the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Ronaldo says that even when you are successful, you should never forget your humble beginnings. I totally go by that philosophy.” Manpreet Singh
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Manpreet Singh will make his third consecutive appearance at the Olympics. The midfielder’s experience will be crucial as 10 of the 16-member squad will be making their Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
So far, 12 Indian athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, 117 Indian athletes had qualified but couldn’t match up to the medals haul from the 2012 London Games, which remains India’s highest medal tally at a single Olympic Games – six medals. We are quite hopeful that the threshold could be crossed in Tokyo with quite a few Indian athletes topping the world ranking charts.
This was all about Manpreet Singh, India’s powerful hockey star making it to the Tokyo Olympics. Hope you found this to be informative and insightful. Planning to skyrocket your career in Sports? Our Leverage Edu study abroad consultants can help you achieve success in your favourite sport. Connect with us today!