Our goal is to leave China with no regrets: India hockey forward Abhishek

Bengaluru, Sep 9 (PTI) Rising Indian hockey forward Abhishek, who is set for his first major Asian tournament in the upcoming Hangzhou Games, says his aim is to play with confidence and leave China without “any regrets”.

The 24-year-old has come up the hard way and made a delayed breakthrough in his career but he has cemented his place in the Indian side with some stellar performances — 18 goals in 48 appearances.

“I am ecstatic to have been named to the squad, and I am eager to give my all on the pitch. The 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 is a big tournament, and we’re preparing accordingly,” he said in a Hockey India release.

“We’ll play with confidence, and our goal is to leave China with no regrets at the end of the tournament,” he added.

Asked about his team’s preparations for the 19th Asian Games, Abhishek said, “We will face some good teams, and we are working very hard in training to make sure we are in the best physical and mental shape when we step onto the pitch.” India are placed in Pool A along with Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

“My teammates and coaches are all eager to help me; they encourage me and support me in moving forward quickly if I make any mistakes in training,” he said about the team’s camaraderie.

“I often turn to Mandeep and Lalit for support if I have any concerns about the structure; they are always willing to talk on and off the pitch.” Abhishek began his hockey career on a grass pitch under the tutelage of a Hindi teacher, and his selection to the Indian team for the Asian Games is a testament to his dedication.

When Abhishek was nine-year-old, his school teacher Shamsher Singh encouraged him to pick up the stick while he was studying in Sonepat, and he has shown no signs of slowing down since then.

“I played on grass for the first ten years of my career, and the first time I played on turf was when I transferred to the National Hockey Academy (NHA) for a couple of years.

“That period of my career was memorable; I competed in the U-18 Asia Cup from the National Hockey Academy and made the Junior Indian Men’s Hockey Team in 2017.

“After that, I joined the Punjab National Bank Hockey Team in 2018 and played there for three years before making it to the Indian men’s hockey team based on my performance in the 1st Hockey India Senior Men Inter-Department National Championship 2021 in Bangalore.” Abhishek made his debut in the 2021-22 FIH Hockey Pro League and went on to make a name for himself on the big stage, winning two Players of the Match awards during the FIH men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.

Source: PTI News


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