The Indian men’s hockey team midfielder Sumit is working hard to earn a place in the squad for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023, and said that he is giving his 100 percent on the field.
“If I play well, no one will be able to stop me from getting into the team for the World Cup,” Sumit said when he appeared on Hockey Te Charcha – a podcast series initiated by Hockey India.
“I always think about giving my 100 percent when I go to the ground. I always compete with myself and believe that I have to be better than what I was yesterday. My duty is to do the hard work and selection completely depends on the coach and selectors,” said Sumit.
He added, “The plus point with my game is I can play in almost every position. I play as a midfielder, but sometimes I drop deep to play as a defender as well. I have no problem with playing in any position in the team.”
Speaking candidly, Sumit gave a good account of the preparations of the team for the upcoming World Cup.
“Our practice has been going on really well and we have just played four matches in the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022-23. We played good hockey in all four matches, so, our preparation has been on the right track,” commented Sumit.
He stated, “I remember the World Cup in 2018 when we lost in the quarter-finals and every time I go back to Bhubaneswar, it reminds me of that loss. The target of our team is to finish on the podium next year.”
Coming from a small village in Haryana, Sumit faced a lot of hardships in his childhood. However, it didn’t affect his resilience and dream to play for the Indian team.
Sumit said, “From childhood, I aimed to play for the Indian team. However, my family background wasn’t that good and then my coach supported me in my village. My father used to be sick when I was a kid and my brother worked to support the family.”
“There were days when I substituted my brother in the Dhabha, I worked there to support my family and also practice hockey. The owners were kind enough to support me with petty cash whenever I had to travel to play matches,” he recalled.
Sumit further added, “Winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics was a very proud moment for me and the people back home. When I came back after clinching the bronze medal, the whole village was behind me and at that moment I was missing my mother (she passed away in 2020). She was with me when I came back home after winning the Men’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup in 2016 and I missed her when the whole village was celebrating my success in the Tokyo Olympics.”
Speaking about the upcoming weeks that lead up to the World Cup, Sumit said that the Australia tour will be a great learning experience for the team. “The Australia tour is really important before the World Cup. Australia is a really strong team, we will get good competition from them and it will be a confidence booster for us to play against such a strong team before the big tournament.”
“We will learn a lot from playing against Australia and our team will try to execute the plans we have made for the World Cup during the series. The upcoming tour will really help us to prepare for the mega event,” he concluded.