The captain of the national hockey team, an Arjuna Award recipient, a man who was accidentally shot and fought back- The absolute hockey legend Sandeep Singh’s journey is an inspiration for everyone and teaches us this lesson to not loose hope and keep going.
Sandeep Singh Bhinder is an Indian professional field hockey player and an ex-captain of the Indian National Team. He made his international debut in January 2004 in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup In Kuala Lumpur. He took over as the captain of the Indian national team in January 2009. At a time when he was at his peak, he was said to have the best speed in the world in drag flick (speed 145 km/h).
On 22 August 2006, Singh was seriously injured after being hit by an accidental gunshot in Shatabadi train, while on his way to join the national team due to leave for the World Cup in Germany two days later. He was almost paralyzed and on a wheelchair for two years of his life.
But this struggle wasn't limited to physical, it was financial too. In an interview Sandeep said:
We used to live in a rented house and when I was shot, our landlord told us to vacate. We went through a very tough time but the support that I got from everyone made me emerge stronger.
I was able to walk then, and even run for a bit. I started practising for hockey but no one really thought I was fit to play hockey ever. I kept practising, and seven months later, contributed in a zonal team winning a tournament. I went back to the Federation with a plea to Team India inclusion.
Sandeep Singh Bhinder not only recovered from that serious injury, but also established himself again in the team.
Under his captaincy, the Indian team managed to clinch the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2009 after defeating Malaysia in the finals at Ipoh. India won the title after a long wait of 13 years. Singh was also the top goal scorer of the tournament.
The India men’s national Hockey team had qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London after a gap of 8 years. The team had a resounding victory over France in the finals of the Olympic qualifiers by beating France 8–1. Ace drag-flicker Singh starred in the final against France by scoring five goals – including a hat-trick – all from penalty corners (19th, 26th, 38th, 49th and 51st minutes). Singh was the highest scorer of the Olympic qualifiers tournament by scoring 16 goals.
He is regarded as one of the best drag flickers of the game.
Image Credit: TEDx Talks/YouTube
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