More from Indian men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh, as he speaks exclusively to The New Indian’s Executive Editor Rohan Dua on his inspiration and realising his parents’ dream of winning a medal for the country
Rohan: You had posted a picture of yours on Twitter, with your head in your mother’s lap and your medal around her neck. It left quite an impression on the audience. What inspired you to post such a picture?
Manpreet: To me that picture means everything. It was my parents’ big dream that I play for India and win medal for the country. So when I called my mother after winning the bronze, she broke down. It was a highly emotional moment. My father passed away in 2016. We missed sharing this moment with him the most. When I got back, all I could think of was to put the medal around her neck and my head in her lap. And that is what I shared on Twitter.
Rohan: What have you been up to ever since your return? Are there any notable moments that you would like to share?
Manpreet: We have been showered with immense love ever since we got back from Tokyo. The whole country welcomed us well. It felt really good. An event was held to felicitate us in Delhi upon our return. We had another function in Amritsar. The whole of Punjab showered its love. This time, the whole country, including our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, had seen our match. We are told he set his daily routine aside to watch the match and cheered us. It felt really good. The reception at our village was the most memorable. The entire village of Mithapur gathered around us to congratulate. It was a proud moment.
Rohan: Mithapur is where Pargat Singh also comes from…
Manpreet: He is my idol. I started playing Hockey after watching him play.
Rohan: What has kept you away from your wife for so long?
Manpreet: Covid. She had gone visiting her parents and tested positive at a point. We would be meeting soon.
Rohan: The Manpreet I see in front of me is a casual, easy, regular guy. No airs about you. Is this the real you?
Manpreet: This is just how I am. My mother always taught me to stay humble and loving towards all.
Rohan: This medal is special, especially since it comes after 40 years. Could it be that this team mainly comprised of players from Punjab? Could it be that the Punjab players are regarded as more fit? Is it a coincidence that 10 of the players were from Punjab?
Manpreet: I believe that there is togetherness in all. We are one country and united at that. Whether a player comes from north, south, east or west India, in the end we are all playing for the country. The goal is to give our best and we do that to the best of our intent. So it is a collective collaboration.
Do visit www.newindian.in for exclusive video stories from hinterlands of India.