Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], December 1 (ANI): Three years ago, on this very day, the Indian men's hockey team took the field at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar for their opening match of the Odisha Men's Hockey World League Final 2017 against eventual winners Australia.
It was a tournament that saw Indian defender Harmanpreet Singh stake his claim in the team, with some fine performances as India claimed a bronze medal in front of their home fans.
"It was definitely one of the biggest tournaments for me, and especially with the senior team. Having won the FIH Junior Men's World Cup in 2016, the Odisha Men's Hockey World League Final 2017 gave me the chance to experience the thrills of playing the highest form of hockey at the grandest of stages," expressed Harmanpreet in an official Hockey India release.
"We did not have the best of starts in our pool matches, but I think we finished the tournament really strongly. However, what I really learned from that tournament was the fact that if you keep pushing hard, you'll eventually achieve your goals, regardless of which or how big an opponent you're facing," he added.
The 24-year-old was India's joint-highest scorer in the tournament along with fellow drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh with two goals each, and believes playing with the veteran has helped him immensely in his career.
"I've always looked up to Rupinder because when I was a junior, he was always putting in exceptional performances on the field. So to have had the chance to practice, play, and share the same room with him, has been an honour for me. I've learned a lot from my interactions with him, and I hope we can both continue to play well for the team going forward," said Harmanpreet. (ANI)