When enjoying hockey, Indian junior group defender Pratap Lakra watches, learns and takes inspiration from seniors Rupinder Pal Singh’s dragflicking talents and Birendra Lakra’s recreation, however is correct now busy doing obligation as ticket collector within the railways. Since his entry into the junior nationwide camp in 2017, Pratap knew solely onerous work would assist him don the senior group jersey.
“Because the senior group additionally trains in Bengaluru the place we’ve our nationwide camp, every time we’ve a relaxation day or when the senior group is enjoying an inside match, we go and watch them,” he was quoted as saying in a Hockey India press launch.
“I significantly observe Rupinder Pal Singh for his dragflick execution and when it comes to defence and recreation I observe Birendra Lakra,” he mentioned.
“Each are very skilled and convey a particular ability set to the group and watching them helps me improvise my very own recreation,” added Pratap, who works as a ticket collector within the Railways.
Hailing from a small hamlet referred to as Beldihi in Odisha’s Sundergarh district, hockey got here naturally to Pratap whose father and sister had been already common in that area for his or her talents with the stick. “For me, hockey was a pure alternative. Everybody in my village performed the game. My sister had performed for the state and my father was a daily on the Khasi tournaments. I used to be very younger once I picked up the stick and I knew hockey can be my future.”
In 2012, Pratap joined the Panposh Sports activities Hostel the place he would typically have the chance to be taught from hockey greats Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla. “At Panposh, once I began enjoying, there have been a number of gifted gamers like Amit Rohidas, Stanley Victor Minz amongst others and our publicity to the sport there was wonderful with Dilip bhai and Lazarus bhai visiting us usually and training us.”
With the Odisha authorities taking curiosity in selling the game and investing in Excessive Efficiency Centres throughout the state, Pratap feels children like him will profit from the programme. “In Odisha, gifted gamers are in abundance however with the Excessive Efficiency Centres, they are going to be groomed as per worldwide requirements at a really younger age and that may solely assist enhance the pool of gamers in India,” he mentioned.
Having performed the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2017 and 2019, in addition to the 8-Nation Match in Spain final yr, Pratap says he enjoys competing in opposition to Australia and Nice Britain probably the most. “Enjoying in opposition to Nice Britain significantly is difficult as a result of they play to their positions, don’t go away their markings and make sure the small errors we make price us dearly.
“There’s a lot to be taught from these two groups after we play in opposition to them and certainly Australia and Nice Britain will likely be groups to be careful for in subsequent yr’s FIH Junior World Cup.” The event is scheduled to be held in India. At the moment on a break, Pratap is ready to listen to from the Sports activities Authority of India for the following junior nationwide camp.
“Till I return to the nationwide camp, I might want to proceed my obligation as TC and deal with conserving match,” he mentioned.