Saturday, October 23, 2021

Veteran striker SV Sunil retires from international hockey

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New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) SV Sunil, the veteran forward and star striker of India men’s field hockey team, announced his retirement from international hockey on Friday.

The Arjuna awardee from Somwarpet in Coorg made a memorable international debut in 2007 at the Asia Cup in 2007 which India won after beating Pakistan in the final.

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The two-time Olympian remained the cynosure of the Indian forwardline for over a decade with fine performances. He was part of the Indian team that won gold in the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy, and silver in the same event in 2012.

The 32-year-old, who scored 72 goals in 264 appearances for the national team, took to social media to announce his decision.

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“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,” said Sunil in a statement on Twitter.

“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.

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“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,” he added.

The striker also has to his credit a gold and a bronze medal from the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games respectively.He was also part of the gold medal-winning team in the Asia Cup 2017.

He played an instrumental role in the team’s historic Silver medal wins at the 2016 and 2018 FIH Champions Trophy.

In his long-serving career, Sunil also led the forwardline in 2015 World League final where the team won a bronze medal and he was also part of the team that won bronze in the same event in 2017 in Bhubaneswar. He also has a silver medal from the Commonwealth Games 2014 to his credit.

Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningomba congratulated Sunil on his incredible career spanning over 13 years and for his contribution to Indian hockey.

“SV Sunil has been an inspiration to an entire generation of young hockey players. His commitment to the game and discipline was unmatched and he has given Indian hockey some very memorable performances. On behalf of Hockey India, I congratulate him on a fantastic career. I wish him the very best for his future endeavours,” said Ningombam.

Earlier on Thursday, Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra, who were part of India’s bronze medal-winning side in the Tokyo Olympics, also announced their retirement from international hockey.

–IANS

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