Another star rises from Chandigarh’s hockey nursery

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When the Indian junior hockey team arrived in New Delhi earlier this week after finishing second at the Sultan Johar Cup in Malaysia, one of its members eagerly sought out former Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy players, Dharamvir Singh and Rupinderpal Singh - members of the senior team residing in the same hotel.

For 18-year-old Gagandeep Singh, a product of the same academy, it was a chance to meet two people he has always admired. "I wanted to meet Dharamvir and Rupinderpal as they were our seniors in the Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy. They went to Australia as members of the Indian senior hockey team and meeting them boosted my confidence. The Sultan Johar Cup was my first International tournament and the second spot was something that we are proud of. It was my first international tournament and playing against teams like Australia, Germany and Malaysia made us believe that we are no less than them. We defeated Australia and Germany in the league stage and the final was a close one," shared Gagandeep, who belongs to Bhadal Thuha village near Sirhind.

Having made his debut with the junior Indian team in Malaysia earlier this week, Singh believes that there is more to come and wants to cement his place in the team.

The lanky lad started playing hockey at his village under coach Rajinder Singh Tiwana and joined the Chandigarh Hockey and Football Academy in 2006. He soon made his way into the Chandigarh sub-junior and junior teams. The fullback was a part of the Chandigarh team, which won gold in the U-17 category in the 2009 National School Games and also played a vital role in Chandigarh's title win in the U-19 category in 2011. Earlier this year, Gagandeep opted to play for Haryana and the team claimed a bronze in the junior nationals held in Lucknow.

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