Time for me to take a break, says Indian hockey forward SV Sunil

SV Sunil's announcement comes a day after Rupinder Singh and Birendra Lakra, both part of India's bronze medal-winning side in the Tokyo Olympics, also hung up their boots.

SV-Sunil

Indian forward S.V. Sunil represented India at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. He was also part of the Indian side that won the Asian Games gold medal in 2014.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. MURALI KUMAR

Indian hockey star SV Sunil, on Friday, said he will take a break from the game and will be available to play in the shorter format going ahead. The 32-year-old, who won the gold medal with the Indian team at the 2014 Asian Games, took to social media to announce his decision.

Sunil's decision comes a day after Rupinder Singh and Birendra Lakra, both part of India's bronze medal-winning side in the Tokyo Olympics, also hung up their boots.

"My body says I can still do it, my heart says go for it, but my mind says: Time to take a break. More than 14 years after I wore India colours for the first time, I've decided to make myself unavailable for the national camp which begins next week.

I will be lying to everyone, including myself, if I say I'm happy man. I always dreamt of helping my team to the podium at the Olympics and that would be the final hurrah. Unfortunately, it was not to be. That my teammates won the bronze medal is a special feeling, epic truly, even if it's tinged with some sadness personally. But I know, this is the right decision," Sunil said in a statement on Twitter.

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He continued, "It wasn't the easiest decision to make, but it wasn't the toughest either, given that I didn't make it to the team for the Tokyo Games. The omission put question mark on my future as a player in th 11-a-side format. With the 2024 Paris Olympics three years away, I think, as a senior player is important that I make way for youngsters and help in building a winning team for the future. I will continue to be available to play the shorter form of the game and be involved with Indian hockey in any capacity the Hockey India wants me to.

I've seen a lot on and off the pitch in the past 14 years. I've battled tragedies, career-threatening injuries and other setbacks to remain focussed on giving my best for the country. I remember with pride the 2014 Asian Games gold, it was the turning point for many of us and I'm grateful that I represented my country at two Olympic Games in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016."

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He added, "My heartfelt gratitude to Hockey India, to my teammates and coaches over the years, supportive friends, my employees BPCL and to my loving family, especially my wife Nisha for her unconditional support. Last, but not the least, my thanks to the media. I extend my best wishes to my team. May you continue to rise!"

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