5 standout performers for India at the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophy
Hockey India rid themselves of the unwelcome ‘minnows’ tag over the preceding few years, but with the latest silver medal at the prestigious FIH Champions Trophy 2016, they are now a formidable force that can give any national side a run for their money in the international arena. As the world takes notice, it’s time to get acquainted with our best players who fired on all cylinders to help India pull off the impressive feat.
Therefore, let us take a look at five of the key men who made the biggest difference for India with outstanding performances that swung the tide their way at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre:
#5 Mandeep Singh – Forward
When Hockey India first announced their team for the 36th edition of the Champions Trophy, quite a few eyebrows were raised at the exclusion of seasoned campers like Ramandeep Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh. With the veterans given some much-needed rest ahead of the Olympics, how the decisive goals would arrive for India left a big question mark – the answer to which was impeccably provided by young striker Mandeep Singh.
The Surjit Academy graduate from Jalandhar turned only 21 in January this year, the portentous Olympic year. However, not a hint of inexperience was visible when he took control around the opponents’ back line in the very first game against defending champions Germany; not to forget, Mandeep was marked by a defence that has won back-to-back golds in the latest Olympics. It was hardly a deterrent since the Punjab forward scored India’s second of three goals to help snatch one point from the opening game.
He then starred in the win against Great Britain, drawing first blood for India, completely against the run of play. Incidentally, his tally of three field goals in the tournament stands as the highest number to have been scored from open play at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park meet.