Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 14
Tears rolled down the eyes of 18-year-old hockey striker Harpreet Singh after receiving a pat on the back by former Indian sprinter Milkha Singh at his residence today.
Harpreet, who has played 11 nationals and was among the top scorers of the U-21 Khelo India Games, was spotted by this correspondent doing work as labourer to make a living for his family. Though disheartened after not being selected by national selectors, he aims to play for the nation.
Milkha’s wife Nirmal Milkha Singh and his son, international golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, also met Harpreet. The Milkha family handed over a cheque for Rs 50,000 to Harpreet and also ensured him of facilities under the Milkha’s Charitable Trust. “No dream is small. If you wanted to play for India, you should be ready to give your best for achieving it. I have faced such kind of situations. But once you fight against the odds, you achieve what you desire,” said Milkha Singh to Harpreet.
His wife Nirmal Milkha Singh, who has been Joint Director Sports (UT), said kids like Harpreet needed attention and support to grow. “He will now focus on playing hockey and studying. May God give him the strength to fight against all odds and emerge as a winner,” said Nirmal.
“I am very happy… I have no words to explain my feelings. I have never expected to meet Milkha sir and his family like this. I won’t let them down. They have given me a new hope,” said Harpreet, while talking to this correspondent.
Meanwhile, the Hockey Chandigarh also announced that they would approach Hockey India for helping Harpreet to attend the national camp. “He is a natural talent. We are talking to Hockey India for giving him a chance, which he deserved after leading the goal scorers’ chart in U-21 Khelo India Games held in January,” said Anil Vohra, secretary, Hockey Chandigarh.