India: ‘It has been a surreal experience,’ says Indian Men’s Hockey Team Forward Araijeet Singh Hundal

~The 20-year-old was on the target during the shootout against the Netherlands~

Rourkela, 22nd February 2024: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team have had a pretty good outing in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 so far with two wins in regulation time, two wins in shootout, one loss in regulation time and a loss to the Netherlands in shootout that took place on 21st February. 

India kicked off their campaign in Bhubaneswar with a convincing 4-1 victory over Spain, followed by a thrilling 2-2 (4-2) shootout win against the Netherlands, the top-ranked team in the world. India then lost 4-6 to Australia but bounced back with a 1-0 triumph over Ireland to conclude the Bhubaneswar leg on a high.

Moving to the Rourkela leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24, India carried their momentum from the Bhubaneswar leg, sealing a 2-2 (8-7) shootout win against Spain in a closely contested match. In yet another nail-biting encounter, India, trailing 0-1 at half-time against the Netherlands, came back to level the score and took the game into a shootout, which they lost 2-4. Young Araijeet Singh Hundal and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay were on target for India during the shootout against the Netherlands.

Speaking about his experience in the tournament so far, Araijeet Singh Hundal, a recent addition to the senior Indian Men’s Hockey squad, said, “It has been a surreal experience. Competing against top-tier teams such as the Netherlands and Australia, receiving encouragement from both seniors and the coach, is genuinely delightful, and it has also been a valuable learning experience for me.”

When asked about the guidance provided by his senior teammates, the 20-year-old forward from Punjab shared, “They advised me to keep an open mindset, play freely, and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on myself.”

When asked about how he felt after finding the target during the shootout, Araijeet said, “First of all, I would like to thank the coach for providing me with the opportunity to take the shot. I would also like to thank my seniors for encouraging me before I stepped up. It helped me with my nerves.”

“I am glad that my shot was on target as it certainly helped boost my confidence in my game,” he concluded.

India will next play Australia on the 24th February at 1930hrs IST.

All matches of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 will be streamed on JioCinema, additionally, all India matches will be telecast on Sports18 – Khel.

By Hockey India

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