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The Hindu: You do not improve unless there is competition (2/24/2017)
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The Hindu: You don’t improve unless there is competition By Y.B.Sarangi

For the last seven years, Rupinderpal Singh has been almost a constant feature in the National hockey side and has contributed to India’s recent accomplishments in top-level tournaments.

A Champions Trophy silver medal, a World League bronze, an Asian Games gold and two Asian Champions Trophy gold medals are some of the high points of Rupinderpal’s decorated career.

The towering full-back, who has improved his defence and drag-flick by leaps and bounds, has also excelled in his leadership roles for the National team as well as Delhi Waveriders. The 26-year-old, who is leading Waveriders in the fifth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL), enjoys the pressure of being pushed by contemporary penalty corner specialists, including the up-and-coming players.

“If there is no competition, you do not improve. You work hard to improve and enjoy the process,” said Rupinderpal.

Improvisation

For Rupinderpal, the key to staying relevant is improvisation.

“I work on my variations. Whatever strategy I have in my mind, I share with the coaches and take their inputs to fine-tune it. I visualise all those strategies in different situations and prepare myself to face various opponents.”

Rupinderpal, who has spent five years with Waveriders, feels a special bond with the team. “It has been a nice journey so far. As a captain I want to give my 100%. It is difficult to give 100% in each game because we make mistakes. But it is very important how you prepare yourself for the next match (without getting frustrated by a below par performance).”

Rupinderpal thinks that the HIL has emerged as a path-breaker in hockey.

“We have seen so many rule changes in the HIL all these years. These experiments bring a lot of excitement to the league and because of the gripping action, the viewership of the event has increased over the years,” said Rupinderpal.

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