Birmingham — Manpreet Singh, India’s co-flagbearer who played his 300th game for India this week at the Commonwealth Games, revealed that he was once stopped from playing hockey by his family for being too dangerous – and was even locked indoors.
Manpreet is captaining India at the Commonwealth Games, with his side ahead on goal difference over England in the race to finish top of the pool and avoid Australia in the men’s last four.
Having racked up a triple century of caps, Manpreet said that it was a dream to come so far after his early travails trying to pick up a stick.
He said: “Both my brothers used to play hockey. You know hockey is a really tough game, you can get injured so quickly, so my brother and my mum, they locked me inside a room and they told me ‘no, you’re not going to play hockey because hockey’s a really tough game’.
“But I still escaped from that room and I reached the ground.
“My first coach saw me and he talked to my brother and he said ‘let him play. Maybe he can be a good player and maybe he can get a job’. Then my family started supporting me from there.”
The support was a motivation for Manpreet, 30, as his stock rose in the Indian team.
He said: “I wanted to win medals for my nation and seeing previous players who won something pushed me. I want to win, and I want to achieve more for my nation.
“I was looking forward to this Commonwealth Games, because we never won a gold medal and we were looking for it.”
The question now is whether this talented Indian outfit can retain their skill and possession, as well as Graham Reid’s demands for the full 60 and finally win a global gold.
He added: “When we are looking at other players we feel confident, our team. They feel confident that if we’re playing Australia, OK, we can play. It’s all about opportunity. If we can create opportunities we can win the match.
“Playing with others, I never feel like being a captain with them. I always play like I’m their brother. I don’t want to be their senior. If any junior player has something they can come up and share it with me.”