20-year-old Harmanpreet Singh has been one of the most outstanding junior performers of Indian hockey in recent times. The drag-flick expert defender has been flawless at penalty corner conversions and has undoubtedly established himself as the next big thing in Indian hockey.
He represents Dabang Mumbai at the Coal India Hockey India League 2016 (HIL) and would be one of the young guns to look out for at the upcoming pan-India league.
Here are 10 things that will help you to get to know Harmanpreet Singh better:
1. Harmanpreet Singh was born to a farmer on January 6, 1996 in the village of Jandiala Guru which is located on the outskirts of Amritsar.
2. Harmanpreet attributes his power and strength to his tryst with his father’s tractor as a kid. His jostle with the tractor gear aided in his muscle development which would later on contribute to his brilliant drag flicks.
3. He honed his skills at the Surjeet Singh Academy in Jalandhar, whose former pupils include Jugraj Singh and Tejveer Singh among others.
4. He had joined the renowned academy in 2011 with dreams of being a forward, but the coach made him switch to defense. At the academy, he got a chance to train with the likes of Gaganpreet Singh and Sukhjeet Singh which played a key role in developing his skills as a penalty corner specialist.
5. The 20-year-old is a student of DAV College, which was also attended by his India teammates Harjeet Singh, Gurjant Singh and Varun Kumar.
6. The youngster first made everybody sit up and notice his immense talent at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia in 2014. He scored a total of nine goals that included a brace in the final where India U-21 defeated Great Britain 2-1 to clinch the title. For his stupendous display, he was adjudged the Player of the Tournament.
7. The Indian junior men’s hockey team had a training-cum-competition trip to Australia soon, where Harmanpreet stole the show once again. He accounted for seven goals in five games during that trip.
8. Subsequently, this prodigy was picked up by Dabang Mumbai in 2015 and he repaid the faith by pumping in 5 HIL goals. Quite naturally, the Mumbai franchise did not want to let go of this penalty corner specialist and retained his services for the 2016 season.
9. Even though India ended up as the runners-up to Great Britain at the 2015 Sultan of Johor Cup, Harmanpreet Singh impressed once more. He was the joint top Indian scorer along with Sumit Kumar, with three goals each.
10. His latest accomplishment was at last November’s Junior Men’s Asia Cup where he put up a spectacular performance and slammed a total of 15 goals. In the final, it was his incredible four goals that helped India seal a 6-2 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan en route to the crown.