Comeback story of Indian field hockey legend Sandeep Singh

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Sandeep Singh – Photo: Finance & Markets
By Asia Samachar Team | INDIA |

Nothing brings joy and satisfaction than seeing your hard work pay off. But, a sudden accident can bring you stumbling back to ground zero. Field hockey legend Sandeep Singh proves that it is possible to get back on your feet.

At the peak of his career, an accidental gunshot left Sandeep paralyzed from the waist down. Still, he recovered and re-established himself as a formidable player in the national team.

Sandeep Singh was born in 1986 in Shahabad, a small town in northern India. His elder brother inspired him to pick up field hockey. During his final year of high school, a talent scout discovered and recruited him into the Indian national team.

Sandeep made his international field hockey debut in January 2004 in Malaysia’s Sultan Azian Shah Cup. Over the next two years, he demonstrated a distinctive prowess in drag flicking, a skill that gave him the nickname “Flicker Singh.”

On 21st August 2006, Sandeep boarded the Shatabadi Express from his hometown to Delhi. He was traveling to join his team, which was leaving for the World Cup in two days. During the journey, an assistant inspector of the Railway Police Force accidentally shot him. The bullet went through his lower-back region, paralyzing him on the spot.

The officer was horrified when he realized he had shot a national hockey team player. The train stopped immediately, and Sandeep was rushed to the nearest hospital.

After a long and troubling 13 months, the combination of therapy, fan motivation, and personal determination bore fruit. Sandeep could finally swing a hockey stick in the field.

Sandeep was accepted back into the national team in 2008. He trained long and hard, and by the end of 2009, he had regained his status as a top hockey player.

He also became the team’s captain and inspired it to clinch the year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Three years later, India qualified for the Summer Olympics in London after an 8-year gap.

Sandeep retired from the national field hockey team in 2014. He continues to be an active player as part of the Indian hockey club Ranchi Rays.

Read the full story, ‘The Story of Sandeep Singh: Fighting Back’ (Finance & Markets, 11 Nov 2020), here.

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