Ace Indian drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, who was a key member of the Indian men’s hockey team which won a historic bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020 recently, announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday.
Taking to micro-blogging website Twitter, Rupinder said: “Hi everyone, wanted to share an important announcement with you all.”
“I would like to inform you about my decision to retire from the Indian hockey team. The past couple of months have undoubtedly been the best days of my life. Standing on the podium in Tokyo along with my teammates with whom I have shared some of the most incredible experiences of my life was a feeling I will cherish forever. I believe it is time for me to make way for young and talented players to experience every great joy I have felt in these last 13 years of representing India. I have had the honour of wearing the India jersey in 223 matches and each of these matches are special for I had the privilege of playing for this great sport-loving nation,” he added.
Further expressing himself, Rupinder said: “I am leaving the team feeling happy and content as we have conquered the greatest dream which was to win an Olympic medal for India. I will carry with me nothing but great memories of playing with some of the most talented players in world hockey and I have immense respect for each one of them.”
“My teammates have been a great pillar of support all these years and I wish them the best as they surge ahead in taking India to newer heights in hockey,” he added.
Notably, India had defeated Germany 5-4 in a thrilling bronze medal match to win a historic bronze at the showpiece event.
Earlier, India had last won a medal at the Olympics in 1980 – when the team had won its eighth gold medal.
Meanwhile, Rupinder also thanked his family, Hockey India (HI) as well as his coaches and friends who played a big role in his career.
“None of this success I enjoy today would have been possible without the support and encouragement from my friends and family, particularly my mother and father. I walked into every match thinking of them. I thank Hockey India for having their faith in me all these years. I also thank Baba Shershah Wali Academy and coaches, Firozpur where my journey in hockey began. I thank my friends & coaches from Faridkot from where I have some very fond memories as a young player. I also thank coaches late Shri Jasbir Singh Bajwa, Shri OP Ahlawat and my friends from Chandigarh Hockey Academy who played a big role in my formative years as a player,” he expressed.
“I am grateful to all the coaches who trained me to become a better player and I thank all the support staff – the scientifc advisors, the physios, the masseurs, video analysts who have all been a success part of this story. Fans are truly the ones who make the sport more enjoyable and I was very fortunate all these years to enjoy the support of some passionate fans of hockey. I wish that you will continue to support me the same that you always have as I move on from the Indian team and begin a new chapter both on the personal and professional front,” he concluded.
Notably, Rupinder featured in 223 matches during his 13-year-long career for the Indian team.