“Positive support is very important”

The Indian hockey team’s gold medal-winning effort at the Asian Games in 2014 earned the team a direct qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The top honour, India’s first in the continental event since 1998, was largely possible because of the exploits of the team’s courageous captain, Sardar Singh.

Indian Hockey captain Sardar Singh at the Sportstar's digital edition launch.   -  THE HINDU

The Indian hockey team’s gold medal-winning effort at the Asian Games in 2014 earned the team a direct qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The top honour, India’s first in the continental event since 1998, was largely possible because of the exploits of the team’s courageous captain, Sardar Singh. The tall centre-half was one of the star attractions for the launch of Sportstar’s new digital edition in Chennai and kept the audience enthralled, providing them a rare glimpse into a sporting star’s mind.

On what Sportstar stands for

Growing up in a village in Haryana, when I was just picking up hockey, I had no idea about such a magazine. A good word in a magazine can help build up the confidence of a young player. Positive support is very important for every sportsperson.

On pressure from the media and public

Matches between India and Pakistan are huge in both countries. The media and the public create a huge frenzy around it. When I first came into the team, I almost saw it as a battle, because that’s how these contests are projected. But, over the years, as I have gained experience, I can keep the frenzy away from the contest and see it as just another match.

On India’s Olympics preparation

Fortunately we have qualified early this time. That gave us the opportunity to try different players and find the best possible combination. We have and are going to play a lot of matches, hold long camps and that should help us to be better prepared for the Olympics. But it’s a tough competition, the top teams are there. But we are ready to give our best and we are very positive in our outlook.