Gurjant Singh and Simranjeet Singh were the heroes of the Junior Hockey Team that lifted the Junior Hockey World Cup 2016 after a period of 15 years.
It was in 2001 that Gagan Ajit Singh’s colts lifted their first Junior Hockey World Cup and now, Harjeet Singh’s team lifted the Cup breaking the 15 year jinx at Lucknow’s Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.
The Indian team, stayed up to their reputation of the best Junior team in the tournament by not losing even a single match in the entire tournament, after ending Belgium hopes of winning the tournament early in the first half when the first half ended with India leading 2 goals to zero, with one from Gurjant and another from Simarnjeet.
With this second World Cup win, this Indian team holds the record for winning the tournament on home soil. Minister of Sports Vijay Goel announced an additional prize of Rs. 3 Lac per player for this win.
Earlier at the start of the match, Belgium, who had entered the finals after beating 6 time champion Germany in a shoot out, were stunned by the aggressive play from the Indian’s, who within 10 minutes of the beginning of regulation time, managed 7 circle penetrations and two shots to the goal – an electric start from the charged up aggressive Indian team, which made the difference to the one sided World Cup Final.
Later, with India conceding just one goal in the second half and Vijay Dahiya managing some excellent goal keeping, the atmosphere at the end of the evening at the stadium named after India’s greatest sports icon Major Dhyan Chand, was as electric as it was at the beginning. Dahiya’s saves were received with loud applause of appreciation and each attack by the Indian team was met with resounding din, till the final whistle was blown, handing India the World Cup after 15 years.
Coach Harendra Singh
The man who nurtured the team to perform at the top level, was in tears at the press conference. Here, he revealed his pledge that he took in 1998, after being dumped from the Indian team. Being an underachiever as a player, Harendra had pledged that he will see the tricolor fly at the World Cup and he nurtured this dream for 22 long years.
It has not been an easy walk for the team, say Harendra. The team was build from scratch after players were consolidated in April 2014. A lot of sacrifices have been made by the players – second goal keeper Krishan Pathak did not attend his father’s funeral as the team was travelling to UK for a tournament. Seven players of the team are sons of drivers including the captain Harjeet Singh. Each player has battled the odds from a very early age, being driven by a common goal of the winning the world cup, which they have finally achieved at Lucknow yesterday.
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