By Sunil Taneja and Joshua Nath
Barely five weeks after India’s London Olympics debacle, India’s hockey fraternity is clearly looking towards the future and Sardar Singh is at the centre of this new-found confidence.
"The London Games were disappointing, yes we know that. But it is history now, I would love to forget that and look forward. The players have had a good rest and a time of rejuvenation which will keep them in good spirits,” the soft-spoken Sardar said at the launch of the Hockey India League (HIL) in New Delhi.
Being named one of the two brand ambassadors for the Hockey India League that starts early next year is a big responsibility for the 26-year-old.
“I am humbled by this enormous responsibility given to me by Hockey India. It is a big step taken in Indian hockey and augers well for the future,” he added assertively.
Australian great and five-time FIH World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer was named as the second brand ambassador.
Sardar expects the franchisee-based 33-match event to be a huge boon for the Indian players. “Many players will benefit from this exposure. On one hand the league promises to give financial security while on the other hand, many young Indian players will get great exposure playing with and against some of the world best hockey players,” he said.
The lucrative event starts in January but Sardar feels the national players will have to make it big in the series prior to that. “The players have had a good 15 to 20-day break after the Olympics. I am hoping that every player would have recovered fully from the wounds of our poor finish. We have the nationals starting in Bangalore from September 23. Then we have the camp for the Champions Trophy. My expectations from players are high,” he concluded on a positive note.