Striker of the veteran men’s national team of India SV Sunil announced that he decided to retire from international hockey, lowering the curtains on his 14-year career during which he participated in 264 games and scored 72 goals.
Sunil’s decision to set a time came a day after trembling Rupinder Pal Singh and defender Birendra Lakra, who played major roles in the historic campaign of the Indian national hockey team that won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, announced on Friday that they were retiring to the international pension.
The 32-year-old Sunil, originally from Karnataka, was not part of the team that competed at the Tokyo Olympics. Sunil said it was time to give way to younger players and help build a winning team for the future. The senior played in 264 games for India and scored 72 goals.
Winner of the Arjuna Award
The striker of the Indian national hockey team decided to hang his football boots after a great career.
– Ice Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) October 1, 2021
“… it’s time for a break. More than 14 years after I first wore the colors of India, I decided to be unavailable for a national camp starting next week,” Sunil, who grew up playing hockey with a bamboo stick due to his family’s limited resources , reads a statement on his Twitter.
“The decision was not the easiest to make, but it was not the most difficult, given that I failed to get into the Tokyo Games team. The omission called into question my playing future, in the 11th a-side format.
“Given the three years leading up to the 2024 Paris Olympics, I think as a senior player it is important to make room for young people and help build a winning team for the future,” he added.
The winner of Arjuna from Somwarpet in Coorg debuted in 2007 at the Asian Cup, which India won after beating Pakistan in the final.
After that the fast striker had no looking back and was part of India’s incredible rise in world hockey.
The two-time Olympian (2012 and 2016) has remained a key player in the Indian offensive line for more than a decade with good performances.
He was on the Indian team that won gold in the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy and silver in the same competition in 2012.
He also won gold and bronze medals at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, in addition to gold at the 2017 Asian Cup.
He played a key role in the team’s historic silver medal victories in the 2016 and 2018 FIH Champions Trophies.
In his long career, Sunil also led the striker line in the 2015 World League final where the team won a bronze medal, and he was also part of the team that won bronze at the same 2017 event in Bhubaneswar.
He also has a silver medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Congratulating Sunil on his contribution to Indian hockey, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said: “SV Sunil has been an inspiration to a whole generation of young hockey players.
“His dedication to the game and discipline has been incomparable, and he has given Indian hockey several very memorable performances.”
Sunil said that he will still be available for a shorter form of the game (hockey at 5).
He said that gold at the 2014 Asian Games was a turning point in his career.
“I am grateful to have represented my country at two Olympic Games – in London in 2012 and in Rio in 2012.
“I’ve seen a lot on and off the field over the past 14 years. I’ve struggled with personal tragedies, career-threatening injuries and other failures to stay focused on doing my best for the country.” ENTERS FROM PTI