Rohan Dua

Hockey India Captain Opens Up On End To 41-Year Wait At Tokyo Olympics

| Updated : October 12, 2021, 7:18 pm
Updated : October 12, 2021, 7:18 pm

JALANDHAR(PUNJAB): Indian men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh speaks exclusively to The New Indian’s Executive Editor Rohan Dua on the country’s bronze medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. He also opens up on his personal life – marrying a Malaysian national, her ability to speak chaste Punjabi and the Anand Karaj ceremony, fondness for Netflix, Diljit Dosanjh songs and Japanese anime series Naruto. Read & Watch on.

Rohan: You have been felicitated by the Chief Minister as well as Governor of Punjab. What does the day mean to you?

Manpreet: It was a big day for me as I got the best surprise. We had gone for the cash prize but they were so pleased that they offered me a promotion straight away! ‘Manpreet we will promote you to (the post of) SP’, I was told. I was overjoyed. It has been my dream to be a part of the Punjab Police. Even as a child, I always wanted to serve in the Punjab Police. I became a Deputy Superintendent of Police in 2017.


Rohan: How do you like to pass that time in-between games? How do you kill your boredom?

Manpreet: I love listening to music.

Rohan: Is there any particular genre of music that you like to listen to?

Rohan: You have been felicitated by the Chief Minister as well as Governor of Punjab. What does the day mean to you?

Manpreet: It was a big day for me as I got the best surprise. We had gone for the cash prize but they were so pleased that they offered me a promotion straight away! ‘Manpreet we will promote you to (the post of) SP’, I was told. I was overjoyed. It has been my dream to be a part of the Punjab Police. Even as a child, I always wanted to serve in the Punjab Police. I became a Deputy Superintendent of Police in 2017.

Rohan: How do you like to pass that time in-between games? How do you kill your boredom?

Manpreet: I love listening to music.

Rohan: Is there any particular genre of music that you like to listen to?

Manpreet: I like listening to Diljit Dosanjh and Garry Sandhu. I play their songs whenever I get a break.

Rohan: Is there anything particular that you like to watch? 

Manpreet: I am a Netflix guy and I spend a lot of time on the platform. I am also an animation lover. I especially love Japanese animations, such as Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. Actually, not just myself, my friend Hardik is also a big fan of Japanese animation series. 

Recently, I found the Netflix series on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, very nice and motivating. The way Jordan inspires the team, as he just wants the players to play their best game, is a thing to learn.

Rohan: 

What diet regimen do you follow, apart from what is recommended by the sports authorities?

Manpreet: I have a sweet tooth. So when I am not at the camp, I like to eat a lot of sweets. Especially these days, as now is the time to celebrate and enjoy. But once at the camp, I keep strict discipline as I have a goal to achieve.

Rohan: All sorts of questions came your way when you were felicitated in Delhi post your return from the games. And that included whether you were being chased by girls. You are a married man. How relevant is it for the people to be curious about the romantic life of a sports star? 

Manpreet: I think it’s our personal matter. It is up to an individual how they want to live their life. Some may get irritated, others offended and some might even lose track. It is all right.

Rohan: How easy or difficult was it for you to convince your family for you to marry a Malaysian national? How deep in love were you?

Manpreet: It wasn’t difficult at all. My mother was so happy with my choice that that she gladly accepted my wife as her daughter in law. I guess it has to do with the way my wife treats my family. She is so warm and accepting that it does not even feel that she comes from another country or culture. She has embraced our traditions gladly. So whenever she comes to Jalandhar, she pays her respects to the elders like we do here – by touching their feet. She loves to cook for the family. She speaks Punjabi with my mother. She is in Malaysia at the moment and my mother is misses her a lot. They share a great bond between them. 

My wife is a very smart and intelligent girl. She understands and follows my game and supports me wholeheartedly. She motivates me whenever I lose a game and is my harshest critic when I do not play well. She is extremely honest with me.

Rohan: Where did you get married?

Manpreet: She came to Jalandhar, Punjab, for Anand Karaj. 

Rohan: How do you keep your sanity and mental balance during the anxious moments at the time of the matches?

Manpreet: It was a nail biting match. One time, we were 3-1 down, then we became 3-3 equal. Next, the score was 5-3 and finally, we won at 5-4. We got a penalty corner in the last 6 seconds, so you can well imagine the stress and excitement. P R Sreejesh saved that goal. There was no end to my happiness. 

Rohan: What do you think of Sreejesh as a goalie? What it is to have him in the team?

Manpreet: My goalie is a prankster. He is really a funny and a very nice guy. On field he extremely focused and off field he is always playing pranks and pulling practical jokes on people. 

Rohan: Back home and at job, when you are not playing, what is it that you wish to achieve in the police force?

Manpreet: I just want to be an honest and a loyal officer. 

Manpreet: I like listening to Diljit Dosanjh and Garry Sandhu. I play their songs whenever I get a break.

Rohan: 

Is there anything particular that you like to watch? 

Manpreet: I am a Netflix guy and I spend a lot of time on the platform. I am also an animation lover. I especially love Japanese animations, such as Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. Actually, not just myself, my friend Hardik is also a big fan of Japanese animation series. 

Recently, I found the Netflix series on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, very nice and motivating. The way Jordan inspires the team, as he just wants the players to play their best game, is a thing to learn.

Rohan: What diet regimen do you follow, apart from what is recommended by the sports authorities?

Manpreet: I have a sweet tooth. So when I am not at the camp, I like to eat a lot of sweets. Especially these days, as now is the time to celebrate and enjoy. But once at the camp, I keep strict discipline as I have a goal to achieve.

Rohan: All sorts of questions came your way when you were felicitated in Delhi post your return from the games. And that included whether you were being chased by girls. You are a married man. How relevant is it for the people to be curious about the romantic life of a sports star? 

Manpreet: I think it’s our personal matter. It is up to an individual how they want to live their life. Some may get irritated, others offended and some might even lose track. It is all right.

Rohan: How easy or difficult was it for you to convince your family for you to marry a Malaysian national? How deep in love were you?

Manpreet: It wasn’t difficult at all. My mother was so happy with my choice that that she gladly accepted my wife as her daughter in law. I guess it has to do with the way my wife treats my family. She is so warm and accepting that it does not even feel that she comes from another country or culture. She has embraced our traditions gladly. So whenever she comes to Jalandhar, she pays her respects to the elders like we do here – by touching their feet. She loves to cook for the family. She speaks Punjabi with my mother. She is in Malaysia at the moment and my mother is misses her a lot. They share a great bond between them. 

My wife is a very smart and intelligent girl. She understands and follows my game and supports me wholeheartedly. She motivates me whenever I lose a game and is my harshest critic when I do not play well. She is extremely honest with me.

Rohan: Where did you get married?

Manpreet: She came to Jalandhar, Punjab, for Anand Karaj. 

Rohan: How do you keep your sanity and mental balance during the anxious moments at the time of the matches?

Manpreet: It was a nail biting match. One time, we were 3-1 down, then we became 3-3 equal. Next, the score was 5-3 and finally, we won at 5-4. We got a penalty corner in the last 6 seconds, so you can well imagine the stress and excitement. P R Sreejesh saved that goal. There was no end to my happiness. 

Rohan: What do you think of Sreejesh as a goalie? What it is to have him in the team?

Manpreet: My goalie is a prankster. He is really a funny and a very nice guy. On field he extremely focused and off field he is always playing pranks and pulling practical jokes on people. 

Rohan: Back home and at job, when you are not playing, what is it that you wish to achieve in the police force?

Manpreet: I just want to be an honest and a loyal officer. 


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