Bangalore: Jugraj Singh, the upcoming Indian Men’s Hockey Team drag-flicker, who was part of the memorable second final campaign at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, talked about his journey from humble beginnings to the Indian Men’s Hockey Team, when he was appeared in Hockey Te Charcha – a podcast series started by Hockey India.
The defender said: “I started playing for Attari when I was in third grade. I moved to Delhi for four years right after college to play for the Punjab National Bank hockey academy which gave me my first start. It was on the PNB team that I started playing competitive tournaments where I was noticed by the Navy Hockey team who offered me a seat on their senior team, after winning the silver medal at the national tournament. After that I was looking forward to that one chance to play on the senior Indian men’s hockey team. I worked hard to prepare for this possibility and was eventually selected for the Indian men’s senior hockey team, which was an extremely proud moment for me. “
He went on to say, “You have to fight with all your willpower to get everything they want in life, and I did the same. I never stopped fighting and never gave up, which led to me getting that one opportunity I needed to prove myself. “
The 25-year-old defender who made his debut with the Indian Men’s Hockey Team at the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22 then explained his humble origins, the sacrifices of his father, who worked as a border coolie at the Wagah Border and how he overcame those adversities, “We as a family didn’t have much money, my father was the only one who made money when I was a child. In my childhood my brother and I used to go to the Wagah border to help our father where we sold bottles of water, snacks, etc. to tourists along with him. Our financial situation was sometimes so bad that we had to eat the same meal every day for a week, but I will be eternally grateful to my father who made so many sacrifices for us to make sure we go to school, whatever what happens. He always encouraged me to play hockey also because he realized I was talented for it. “
Jugraj added: “Overcoming those adversities as a child really helped me grow and evolve as a person and I understood the importance of hockey and how it could transform not only my life but also that of the people in my family. It’s thanks to my father that I recognized the value of hard work and personal gain that helped me overcome financial and personal adversity and made me a better player. Now I have everything I wanted as a child and it’s all thanks to hockey that it helped me transform my life. “
The 25-year-old spoke about the healthy competition prevailing among the team’s drag-flickers: “We have some very good drag-flickers on the team right now, Harmanpreet, Varun and I. We always push ourselves to do better and it allows us to perform variations in matches such as a team that is useful in difficult situations, especially as hockey teams explore properly to understand each team’s drag routine, then we practice variations to make sure the opposition struggles to read our routine. ”