The opening day of the Men's Hockey World League Final was special for the Indian team skipper, Manpreet Singh, as he achieved the milestone of completing 200 international caps.
He was welcomed on the pitch to deafening cheers from a packed Kalinga Stadium when the Indian Team took on defending champions Australia in their first Pool B match.
"It's a really special feeling to be completing my 200th match in front of the home crowd," expressed the midfielder who recently led the Indian Men's Hockey Team to the Asia Cup title in Dhaka.
For Manpreet, who made his international debut for the men's team in 2011, the most memorable match was of the Asian Games gold medal in 2014 Incheon, where they beat Pakistan in the final.
Manpreet further thanked his team for their constant support. "I would like to thank my teammates who have been a big support for me for remaining a constant support through all my struggles. The biggest low for me was losing my father last year before the Olympics (during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup). It was because of the team that I could overcome the loss," expressed an emotional 25-year-old from Mithapur, Punjab.
On the occasion, Mohd Mustaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India, congratulated the young skipper for this memorable feat.
"On behalf of Hockey India, I congratulate Manpreet Singh on completing 200 International matches for India. He has been an integral part of the Indian Team that has climbed the World Rankings in the recent years and he has also shown his abilities as good leader, guiding young players in the current squad," Ahmad stated.
The 25-year-old has been part of the Indian Team that participated at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
He was also part of the team that clinched a history Silver Medal at the FIH Champions Trophy in London last year, as well as the Silver Medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
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