Jasjit hockey success puts focus on Sansarpur

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Antwerp, Belgium | 4 July 2015 Asia Samachar | 
India hockey player Jasjit Singh Kular
India hockey player Jasjit Singh Kular

Jasjit Singh Kular, who scored twice to allow India to beat Malaysia in hockey at ongoing World League Semifinals in Belgium, comes from the a small Punjab village Sansarpur.

The little village on the fringe of Jalandhar used to be the hub of Indian hockey in its heydays.

Known as the hockey village among the sports buffs, Sansarpur was a tiny hamlet that provided a number of Olympic medal winners when hockey was a craze and India were the prima donnas of the international game, according to a PTI report.

In 1968, seven players hailing for the village, featured in the Mexico Olympic Games. Five of these did duty for India and two others representing Kenya.

Coming from a village synonymous with Indian hockey, the sport was an obvious childhood passion for Jasjit, but it was not until he got into college after turning 18 that he seriously pursued the game, the report adds.

“I was a late starter and did not get serious about playing hockey until I got into college,” Jasjit tells the agency. “For one whose village is Sansarpur, the passion for hockey was always there. I used to play as a child, but ours is a family of doctors and the focus was scientific education,” said Jasjit, who scored two goals in the 3-2 win over Malaysia that placed India in the last-four round.

“It was as a student of Jalandhar’s Khalsa College that I got into hockey seriously,” he says.

The late-starter bloomed pretty quickly, making the national team in less than five years after playing his first competitive game. Jasjit made his international debut as a half-back during the 2014 World Cup at The Hague against Belgium.

His big chance to make a mark came when India’s new coach Paul van Ass picked him as a drag-flicker and he got the opportunity to be the main penalty corner shooter in the absence of injured V R Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh.

Jagjit, 24, justified the faith with the two late goals from rising drag-flicks that went into the net and ensured India’s victory. These two goals, says Jasjit, were his first from drag-flicks in international hockey.

Sansarpur had till date given 14 Olympians, 19 internationals who represented India and other countries, 110 national-level players and another 132 who represented various military teams, said Popinder Singh Kular, a hockey player who also published his PhD dissertation on “Social, cultural and educational ethos of sports: A case study of Sansarpur village in Punjab”.

“It is in our blood. We are born to play and win. Our built and determination has made us winner in hockey since the beginning. The Indian Hockey team lost its winning streak after 1976. You may call it a coincidence, but after 1976 no one from Sansarpur was included in the team,” he was quoted in a 2014 article in The Tribune.

 

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