CHENNAI: When the 33 probables were announced for the national men’s hockey camp to be held from March 14 to April 23 in Bengaluru, there was little surprise that many of the Junior World Cup-winning squad had been included. In fact, 11 of the 18 that claimed India’s second junior crown on that night in Lucknow have been included in the list.
And of the 11, no one can begrudge a spot to Dipsan Tirkey. A mainstay of that title win, the 18-year-old deserved a call-up. And he revealed that was one of his aims heading into 2017.
“My aim at the start of the year was to get a national call-up. That has been accomplished and I’m chuffed that I made it. My family also is very happy and proud of me, so that makes it a double delight of sorts,” Dipsan told Express on Friday.
Currently in his village of Saunamara enjoying a rare but deserved time off, Dipsan has had a whirlwind last few months, what with the Hockey India League triumph with Kalinga Lancers in late February that followed the World Cup victory.
“My aim in 2016 was to win the Junior World Cup, which I did. And now, I’ve made gotten a national call-up. So I can say my time is good right now,” the 18-year-old beamed.
The fact that statemates Amit Rohidas and Birendra Lakra are among probables will help the youngster.
“Amit is literally my neighbour back home and was also my teammate at Lancers. So was Birendra bhai, who has always helped me out during training and pointed out mistakes whenever needed. I’ll be in better stead with those two around,” Dipsan said.
Among the probables devoid of no surprises, 28-year-old VR Raghunath, who first played for India more than 10 years ago, did not find a spot. The list will be trimmed before the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup — the men’s first tournament of the year.
Meanwhile, coach Roelant Oltmans said this year will be crucial as the team goes into the next Olympic cycle.
“This is an important year, what with the World League Semifinal and Final. It will be vital in bringing us a fresh perspective towards building our game further as we move nearer to the World Cup next year,” the 62-year-old opined.