Former Indian Hockey captain Rajpal Singh, who led India to the inaugural Asian Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy and silver medal finish in the Commonwealth Games, did not feature in the Olympic Qualifiers and have joined the rebel WSH league. With this audacious move, the 28-year-old winger made his chances of playing in the London Olympics grim. And now with Hockey India omitting his name from even the 48-Olympic probables’ list, Rajpal’s London dream is all but over.
In an interview with Samikshan Dutta Choudhury of Indian Sports News, he talks about what led to his omission, WSH and more. EXCERPTS:
ISN: Lot is been talked and speculated about your WSH move. And to be frank, they are not good. What would you like to say about this?
Rajpal: Well to be explicit about it, I would like to say that the move has closed the door for my India return. Even if things turn around between IHF and HI, it would still be difficult for me to come back
giving my reputation in the team. But then I would say that I would not regret and all I would say that whenever I played for the team I played for the country and always placed the country ahead of me.
ISN: What do think made you fall apart with team?
Rajpal: Well I am not quite sure of it. I had an operation in my appendicitis on August 29th and I was left out of the team citing reason that I was unfit. But then to tell you, I was advised six weeks of rest only. I was fit to play after, but then still was kept away from the team. Not quite sure of it, but then I think first the Pune Boycott and most recently the controversy where the players denied
accepting 25,000 rupees from the Hockey India for winning the Asian Champions Trophy which offended both the Government and Federation did actually work against me. So now even if I leave WSH, I do not think I would comeback because of the grudge they hold against me.
ISN: So tell us how fit are you to play in WSH?
Rajpal: As I said earlier, the doctors advised me six weeks of rest and after that I did go to the camp and also played against South Africa. So I am completely fit and do not think would face any problem in
regards to my fitness.
ISN: So tell us about WSH and your team Delhi Wizards…
Rajpal: WSH is a good format and would really prove beneficial for the country. It would give young players to play with the senior players and foreign players which would prove beneficial for them. And talking about my team, it is a good lot and would be tough to beat. We have started to come in terms with each other and are gelling well. So I think Delhi Wizards would be the team to beat.
ISN: What would you say about the rivalry between IHF and HI?
Rajpal: Well no comments on that and I do not know who is right or wrong. All I would say is that the players suffer in this power struggle. Everyone takes immense pride when they play for the country
but money is also essential. So when WSH is giving that, I think it should be left to go ahead without any further controversies. These bodies should resolve their matter and think of the players and for
hockey as a whole.