Champions Trophy 2016: Mandeep Singh seems to have turned a new page in his career
Mandeep Singh is just 21, but he has already made several comebacks to the national team. The Jalandhar boy has looked the part in the ongoing 36th FIH Champions Trophy in London. The youngster has struck two crucial goals – one each against Germany and Great Britain – both goals coming off assists by the team’s vice-captain SV Sunil.
Mandeep has been an integral part of the Indian team when he made his senior international debut at the 2013 Hockey World League Second Round in New Delhi – he literally forced his way into the national team on the back of a power-packed performance at the 2013 Hero Hockey India League.
A Surjit Hockey Academy product, Mandeep has been part of the Indian team in several significant tourneys like the 2013 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, 2013 Hockey World League Semifinal Round, 2013 Asia Cup, 2013 Asian Champions Trophy, 2014 Hockey World League Final Round and 2014 World Cup.
A finger injury in 2014 at the national camp before the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, saw him being consigned to the sidelines as he also missed the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. His first comeback event was the 2014 Test Series in Australia after he was overlooked for the 2014 Champions Trophy and again staged a comeback for the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and subsequently played in the Japan Test Series.
Mandeep was again not included for the 2015 Hockey World League Semifinal Round but was picked in the side for the 2015 European Tour and New Zealand Test Series. The youngster was again not picked for the Australia Test Series and 2015 Hockey World League Final Round – he made his fifth comeback at the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Clearly, things haven’t gone quite like Mandeep would have desired and his performance in the 36th Champions Trophy may brighten his Olympic-playing hopes. No wonder, his family members back home are thrilled to see him fire for India. “I’m really happy for him, India should play in the final,” gushes Mandeep’s father Ravinder Singh.
Mandeep is the youngest amongst three children – he has one brother and one sister. “All of us closely watched both India’s matches on television. We hope Mandeep will continue his good run in the tournament,” his father adds.
One hopes that Mandeep will continue his rich vein of form.