Indian hockey midfielder Gurbaj Singh sounded relieved after his nine-month ban was lifted by Hockey India following the Punjab and Haryana High Court terming the ban as ‘illegal’ as there is no provision in Hockey India’s Code of Conduct for handing out such lengthy bans.
“Obviously, I’m relieved to see my ban lifted – the last few weeks have not been easy,” says Gurbaj from Jalandhar.
The 27-year-old midfielder is keen to look ahead now. “I’m focused on playing hockey and representing the country. I have been training hard at the Punjab Armed Police ground both in the morning and afternoon. I have been training from 6 am to 8.30 am and in the afternoon from 4 pm to 6.30 pm, which includes both hockey as well as fitness sessions. I’m awaiting a call-up for the upcoming national camp in Bengaluru.”
The nine-month ban was supposed to have been lifted in May, thus put his chances of playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics in danger. Now that he has spent around two months of his ban, there is a sense that his Olympic hopes are alive now. “Playing in the Olympics is a big thing for any player and I’m keen to play my second Olympics and make the country proud. But before that I want to play in the upcoming tournaments and perform at my best,” he quips.
The Punjab Police DSP thanked all and sundry for their support during the ban period. “I wish to thank everyone, including my fans for their support. Even my employers Punjab Police has been great support for me so is Advocate Hundal, who took up the case for me.”
What will he say to Jude Felix – the man who submitted the adverse report against him if he ever meets him in future? “As I said before, I have nothing personal against anybody or against Jude Felix. I have no hard feelings against him as I still have respect for him,” he fires a parting shot.