Chak De India! Hockey team basks in diaspora support in UK

Chak De India! Hockey team basks in diaspora support in UK

The Indian Hockey team is in the UK for the ongoing FIH Pro League matches, being played at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London, and were greeted with energetic chants of ‘Chak De India’ at an Indian diaspora gathering this week.

During a special reception hosted by the Indian High Commission in London, the squad captained by Harmanpreet Singh interacted with hockey enthusiasts and shared some insights into their visibly strong bond as a team.

The captain said: “England is always a great place to play and it’s a great feeling when we have crowds cheering for us here.

“When we play for India, we always want to give our very best.”

The team’s next matches are scheduled for June 2, when they meet Belgium on the pitch, and June 3, when they go up against Great Britain and the players called on diaspora fans to come along and cheer for them on the field.

Vikram Doraiswami, Indian High Commissioner to the UK, said: “It is a matter of great pride to welcome the Indian Men’s Hockey team. It is difficult not to have a lump in the throat when you see the boys in blue take on the world in this game that is our national sport.

“The hockey team is truly a team that represents all parts of India. Of course, historically Punjab has been a little extra represented as a premier hockey playing state, but it’s great to see that other parts of India are also playing hockey now with as much josh and zeal.”

The event included an in-conversation segment with some of the 20-member squad, coordinated by the Indian Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Sujit Ghosh, who spotlighted the various facets and expertise of the different players.

While feted Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh spoke of how the team represents a perfect mix of cultures of different parts of India, other players spoke of the importance of a positive mindset whatever the outcome and the coach lauded the unique style which the Indian team embodies.


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“They play a different kind of style, which is also engraved in the nature of being in India and Indian, and it works,” said team coach Craig Fulton.

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