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Second Part of the Four-Part series
From immigration, drugs and back to hockey – The story of India’s hockey village Mithapur 2/4
Mithapur again on the country’s hockey map
By Saurabh Duggal
Mithapur again emerged as a hockey power and this time more powerful than before. The fact is evident in the current composition of Indian men’s hockey team. Along with skipper Manpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh and Varun Kumar, all hail from the village and are part of the Tokyo-bound squad. All are leading the billion plus hopes that Indian hockey will end its 41-year-old Olympic medal drought.
“I took to the sport emulating my seniors. Hockey is very much part of our culture and in daily conversation in our village, we grew up listening to the tales of Sansarpur sending a number of players to the Indian team and now we are happy that our village (Mithapur) too is producing international players,” Mandeep Singh, 25, had said.
Since Sansarpur’s golden era, when five players from the village were part of the Indian squad during the 1968 Olympics, it’s Mithapur that has sent the maximum number of players (three) from one village in the squad for one tournament.
“It gives me pride that these youngsters from Mithapur are taking forward the Sansarpur legacy. I can proudly say we have four players from this belt (three from Mithapur village and one — Hardik — from Khusropur village) in the current squad,” said Olympic medalist Col Balbir Singh of Sansarpur. “These youngsters have given hope to many youths that you can have a better life here in your own native place because of hockey. Now the nearby villages are drawing inspiration from Mithapur’s success story. Hope to see them helping India to a podium finish in Tokyo and ending the 41-year-old Olympic medal drought,” added Col Balbir.
To be continued...