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Olympian Manpreet Singh's inspiring path to Paris

Born into poverty in Mithapur, Punjab, he faced daunting challenges from a young age, with his family struggling to meet basic needs.

News Arena Network - Chandigarh - UPDATED: July 11, 2024, 05:41 AM - 3 mins read

Indian field hockey player Manpreet Singh.

Olympian Manpreet Singh's inspiring path to Paris

Indian field hockey player Manpreet Singh.


Manpreet Singh's journey to the pinnacle of international hockey has been a testament to resilience, determination, and the ability to rise above adversity.

 

Born into poverty in Mithapur, Punjab, he faced daunting challenges from a young age, with his family struggling to meet basic needs.

 

Yet, against all odds, Manpreet's talent and unwavering dedication propelled him into the spotlight of Indian hockey.

 

At 32, Manpreet is gearing up for his fourth Olympics, an achievement he once thought beyond reach.

 

Reflecting on his remarkable career, which includes an Olympic bronze from Tokyo and two Asian Games gold medals, he remains humble yet resolute in his pursuit of greater achievements.

 

"I never thought that I would be able to play four Olympics. It is every player's dream to play in the Olympics and win medals. I consider myself very lucky that this is my fourth Olympics," Manpreet shared.

 

His Olympic journey began in 2012, a testament to his perseverance since his debut for India at just 19 years old.

 

Despite the highs of sporting success, including leading India to bronze in Tokyo, Manpreet has also weathered profound lows, none more testing than the allegations that tarnished his reputation.

 

Following the Tokyo Olympics, former India coach Sjoerd Marijne accused Manpreet of influencing a player to underperform during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

 

The accusation shook Manpreet deeply, threatening to undermine his hard-earned achievements and integrity. 

 

However, both the men's and women's teams vehemently denied the allegations, attributing them to Marijne's attempt to garner publicity for his book.

 

"It was the most difficult phase for me. I could never even think of such things. I was broken and lost faith in everyone," Manpreet admitted, his voice tinged with emotion. "My mother encouraged me to keep playing, fulfilling my father's dream, and the entire team supported me."

 

For Manpreet, the support of family and teammates has been instrumental in navigating the turbulent waters of professional sports.

 

Drawing parallels with cricket's Hardik Pandya, who faced public backlash before redeeming himself in the T20 World Cup, Manpreet emphasised the crucial role of solidarity during adversity.

 

"In bad times, the support of family and team is very important because the player finds himself very lonely. When the team stands together, it gives a lot of encouragement and helps in making a comeback," Manpreet reflected.

 

His journey to Paris for the upcoming Olympics symbolises more than personal achievement. It embodies resilience, the triumph of spirit over adversity, and the pursuit of excellence against formidable odds.

 

Despite challenges, including a tough pool and formidable opponents, Manpreet remains focused on executing India's strategy and capitalizing on every opportunity.

 

"We cannot take any team lightly. Our focus is on ourselves and how we can execute our strategy," Manpreet emphasised. "Converting those 50:50 chances is the mark of a champion, and we are well-prepared to do that in Paris."

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