Bengaluru, 07 October 2020: The Indian Men's Hockey Team attacking midfielder Rajkumar Pal made a dream debut earlier this year. He was given an opportunity by Chief Coach Graham Reid to show his potential against the World Champions Belgium at the FIH Hockey Pro League. The young lad from Uttar Pradesh's Karampur village ensured he did not disappoint. 

Now a regular feature in the Indian Core Probable Group, Rajkumar says he is fortunate to receive early recognition. "I feel very fortunate to get recognized early in my career. I feel the Hockey India Senior National Championships in 2018 and 2019 was a crucial moment in my career. Good performances there helped me get selected for the Senior National Camp," expressed Rajkumar Pal.  

He further expressed that hockey has given him a new lease of life. "For young boys from small villages like where I come from, there are very few opportunities to make a living or find the right career path. I am fortunate I was encouraged to play a sport that is governed by a professionally run Federation which ensures talent is recognized and nurtured," he said further adding that youngsters who aspire to make the Indian Team must take the Annual National Championships seriously. 

"Youngsters who want to get selected for the National Camp must take the Annual National Championships seriously and make use of the opportunity to do well for your team. Hardwork never goes unnoticed," he added.  

Speaking about his experience over the past six months, Rajkumar feels the team management's efforts to keep the players motivated through the lockdown was extremely important. "With no activities at all, it was very difficult to feel motivated but the team management, especially Chief Coach and Scientific Advisor ensured we were kept occupied with online activities, English classes and a regular fitness regime. They also ensured we were not fatigued mentally," Rajkumar explained. 

With a well-defined role in the squad now, Rajkumar says his aim is to remain a regular feature in the National Team. "My aim now is to prove my potential in every single session, in every single opportunity I get. We have a very strong pool of players and there is a healthy internal competition to make the final squad. I have received great support from the senior players who encourage me to play to my potential. I look forward to build on this momentum," he said.  

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"Happy to be back on the field," says Indian Junior Women's striker Mumtaz Khan

"Happy to be back on the field," says Indian Junior Women's striker Mumtaz Khan

Back to the National Coaching Camp after nearly six months, the Indian Junior Women's Hockey Athletes are finally back on the playing field. The Core Probable Group arrived in SAI, Bengaluru on 5 October 2020 and underwent a two-week mandatory quarantine period before commencing activities this week. Expressing the team's excitement, Mumtaz Khan, talented young forward who had scored a total of 10 goals at the Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires where India won the Silver Medal, said it's a relief to be back on the field again. "It was a new and challenging experience to be in quarantine for two weeks. It reminded me of my injury days when I had to limit my movement and was advised rest. I am happy and kind of relieved that we are finally back on the field," stated Khan, who hails from Lucknow said. 

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