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Frustrating to sit out, says injured Indian hockey striker Gurwinder Singh Chandi

Gurwinder Singh Chandi of India (C) celebrates a goal

Gurwinder Singh Chandi of India (C) celebrates a goal

Injuries are part and parcel of a sportsperson’s life. And Gurwinder Singh Chandi is fast realizing it. The talented Indian forward has been out of competitive action for close to two months now, having sustained an ankle ligament injury during the inaugural Hero Hockey India League (HIL). The injury had forced him out of the national team for two major international tournaments – FIH Hockey World League and Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

The Jalandhar lad is now going through the rehab process in his hometown and is upbeat about returning to action soon. “The rehab on my ankle ligament injury is going fine. I’m doing exactly as prescribed by the national hockey team physiotherapist Shrikant Iyengar. I’m in touch with Shrikant Sir regularly, he keeps telling me on how to go about my rehab process,” Gurwinder says in an exclusive interview to Sportskeeda.

The Indian striker stopped short of divulging details about when he can return to the hockey pitch. “At the moment, I’m busy with my rehabilitation exercises. At this point in time, I cannot exactly say when I will pick up my hockey stick and play in a competitive match.”

The fleet-footed forward, who was one of the stars for Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League, where he slammed five goals, concedes how frustrating it is to sit out when the national team is playing. “It is quite frustrating more so when our national team is playing in tournaments. I don’t have any choice but to take everything in my stride. You can’t control things which are not in your control,” he quips.

In fact, Gurwinder was named in the Hockey World League team and even attended the national camp before he cried out. “I attended the camp in New Delhi before it became clear that my ankle ligament injury is serious enough to put me out of the Hockey World League Round 2 Tournament,” he says.

The youngster, however, has positives memories of interacting with Hockey India’s High Performance Manager Roelant Oltmans during his brief stay in the national camp. “Roelant Oltmans is such a well known coach. During the HIL he was the coach of the Uttar Pradesh Wizards. I had a chance to catch up with him during our national camp in New Delhi. He called all the players individually and gave his inputs about our strengths and weaknesses. Interacting with him was a motivating experience for me,” he remarks.

Gurwinder last played in the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha. He was indeed looking forward to his 100th international during the Hockey World League – something which did not materialize. “I’m not a stats-conscious guy but people are telling me that I’m one match shy of playing 100 internationals. Obviously, playing 100 internationals for the senior team is a matter of pride for me and I hope to reach that milestone soon,” he sounds excited.

Having being forced to give the Hockey World League a miss, Gurwinder was hoping to be fit in time for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. In fact, Hockey India did not name any replacement for him, obviously keeping their fingers crossed that he would make it to the Ipoh tourney. “I was staying positive about playing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup but the injury took more time to heal and I could not make it. Malak Singh, one of our standbys took my place in Ipoh,” he reveals.

The national team does not have any international assignments until the Hockey World League semifinals, which is slated to be held in June this year. The only international engagement before the HWL semis was the proposed India-Pakistan home-and-away Test series, which was cancelled on account of diplomatic tensions. “Our national camp for the Hockey World League semifinals is starting at Bengaluru on April 6. Hopefully, I would be able to join my team-mates in the latter stages of the camp,” he concludes.

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