Rupinder Pal Singh confident of a good show at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Indian men's hockey team ace defender Rupinder Pal Singh in an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda.
Indian international Rupinder Pal Singh has come a long way since making his debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2010 to becoming the most trusted wall at the back in the Indian national setup. It has been an eventful year for the 25-year old fullback, from not being selected for the Hockey World League semis in June last year to becoming the first name on the team sheet for the Rio Olympics in August 2016.
Rupinder took up hockey as his first choice sport at the tender of 7, mainly getting influenced by his cousin’s(Gagan Ajit Singh) prominent rise in the Indian set-up. He happily recalls the time when it was the former Indian forward and the Arjuna Award recipient Gagan Ajit Singh who motivated him to represent India at the international stage.
He told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview, “I picked up hockey because of him, when we were small kids, I used to talk to him about the game, to see him representing the nation really motivated me. You can say I started playing hockey because of him only.”
Rupinder is fresh from converting 12 penalty corners for the Delhi-based franchise Delhi Waveriders at the recently concluded CIL Hockey India League and was thus adjudged as the ‘Player of the Tournament’; winning a cash prize of INR 50 Lakhs.
When asked if he would like to continue his fine goal scoring form into the Rio Olympics, the fullback replied, “Absolutely, I have gained a lot of confidence from the performances at the HIL, on the other hand, it has happened in the past, so a lot more hard work is needed in order to keep that level of performances going. I just want to continue performing well and be in a right frame of mind till the Mega event starts in Rio.”
We can beat anyone
The Blues are placed in a difficult pool consisting of Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Argentina and Canada in the Olympics. The fullback is wary of the tough competition that lies ahead but is confident of the team's ability to beat any team on any given day.
He added, “The main important thing is to take every game one by one. We will try to do that to the best at Rio. The teams in the group are higher ranking, but in today’s hockey, we have seen that anything is possible and we can beat on a given day. We have full faith in our coach’s training methods or in the strategies that he is making, we are confident of a good show at Rio.”