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From the wheelchair to the hockey field

Popularly known as ‘drag-flicker’ or ‘flicker Singh’,  former captain of Indian National Hockey team, Sandeep Singh under whose leadership India won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament after 13 years was down in Goa attending an event at a school in Nuvem. In conversation with
NT BUZZ Sandeep spoke about the tragic incident that changed the course of his life and gave an insight into his upcoming biographical film ‘Soorma’ which is set to release in theatres on July 13


Injuries for sportspersons and athletes are often life-threatening and they can be a game changer in their careers. A similar tragedy struck one of the world’s most dangerous drag-flickers – with drag speed over 145 kilometres/hour, Sandeep Singh. He was on his way to join the national team for the World Cup in Germany in 2006. Singh was accidentally shot at while in the Shatabadi Express train, which left him almost paralysed and wheel chair bound for nearly two years. Singh not only recovered from that serious injury, but also established himself again in the Indian team.

Depicting Singh’s life story, filmmaker Shaad Ali has made the feature film ‘Soorma’ featuring Diljit Dosanj, Taapsee Pannu and Angad Bedi. The film is scheduled to release on July 13, 2018. Excited about the film, Singh says: “It’s indeed a happy moment for me that I am alive and I am getting a chance to watch a biopic been made on my life. I am thankful to the producers who approached me. Without their support nothing was possible,” says Singh.

Whenever Singh recalls the horrific incident that lost his years of his career, he prays that such such tragedy should not befall anyone else. Singh opens up about the pain he bore: “A bullet wound went through three organs and I was paralysed. They were the most painful and difficult days for me. I was scared. I knew that sitting at home on the wheelchair would not help me achieve my goal but going out on the field would definitely help. With the support of family and friends I managed to overcome this phase in my life.”

After recovering from the paralysis by a whisker, Sandeep returned to the field in 2008 and helped India finish second in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup the same year. Singh was part of the Indian team that won silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. His 16-goal haul, including five in the final against France, propelled India into the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

As the Indian team is ready to take part in the last edition of the ongoing Champions Trophy till July 1, Sandeep says that this edition is the final Champions trophy and definitely a decider. “India has played its best till date and they have proved themselves and they will do it once again. This is a major event and it’s a crucial moment for India. I strongly believe in the abilities of the coach and his team. They will surely make India proud.”

After being on the field for many years Singh feels that there is a need to strengthen the grassroots level training in order to help sports flourish. “India has the talent but is lacking in direction and guidance. In Goa, if sports have to improve then there is a need to get professional players to train and guide the youngsters. There should be equal promotion and equal opportunities should be made available for the sportspersons. Once the sport fades there will be less takers and it will be difficult for India to empower the youth,” adds Singh.

For Singh, hockey is not only about playing for the country but doing something for the nation. He plans on conducting training for schools and colleges in future.

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