The illustrious Indian Men’s Hockey midfielder, Hardik Singh, has once again demonstrated the fruits of relentless diligence, by earning the highly coveted Player of the Year award at the 5th Hockey India Annual Awards 2022.
Speaking on the popular podcast ‘Hockey Te Charcha’, initiated by Hockey India, the Olympic bronze medalist candidly discussed his journey through highs and lows, including his forced withdrawal from the 2023 FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar-Rourkela due to an unfortunate injury. Despite this setback, Singh affirmed his unwavering dedication to the sport.
“I had never anticipated winning this award, but I am certain that my persistent hard work over the past few years has yielded results,” expressed Singh.
The 24-year-old athlete feels deeply inspired by the accolade, a token of recognition from his countrymen for his impressive performance on the field.
In March 2023, Singh was honoured with the prestigious Hockey India Balbir Singh Sr. Award for Player of the Year 2022 at the 5th Hockey India Annual Awards ceremony in New Delhi.
Singh confessed that his aspiration to win the award was kindled back in 2019 when he witnessed Manpreet Singh, the skipper who led India to a bronze medal finish at the Tokyo Olympics, receive the award. From that point forward, he committed himself to daily improvements, culminating in his significant roles in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2023 Hockey World Cup.
According to Singh, such accolades serve as potent motivation for players, encouraging them to constantly strive for better performance.
He expressed gratitude towards Hockey India and the award’s jury and emphasized the positive impact of awards in fostering a competitive spirit among both senior and junior players.
Receiving the award in the presence of Hockey legends like Dhanraj Pillay, Gurbux Singh, and Harcharan Singh added a special meaning to his accomplishment, pushing him further to continue developing as a player.
Discussing his personal evolution, Singh mentioned his commitment to continuous improvement and the importance of stepping out of his comfort zone, a lesson learned from a period of stagnation in 2017-18.
The Punjab-born player reflected on the disappointment of being side-lined due to an injury during the 2023 Hockey World Cup. Despite the setback, he maintained a positive attitude and cheered for his team, emphasizing the collective spirit of the sport.
Singh also shared his excitement to work under the new Indian Men’s Hockey Team Chief Coach Craig Fulton at the ongoing National Coaching Camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru. He praised Fulton’s successful track record with the Irish and Belgian teams and his tactical coaching style, expressing optimism for the team’s future under his guidance.