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Times of India: Back in national hockey camp, Rohidas looking to make the cut (3/29/2017)
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Times of India: Back in national hockey camp, Rohidas looking to make the cut

BENGALURU: Defender Amit Rohidas is on a comeback trail after a formidable performance for 2017 Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) champions Kalinga Lancers. His performance under crunch situations for the Bhubaneswar-based outfit pulled him back in to the contention of the national team after a gap of more than two years.

With chief coach Roelant Oltmans putting his wards under the scanner day after day in the 40-day camp, and the selection trials for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup scheduled for next week, Rohidas is eager to show his worth again and make this opportunity count.

"I am really happy to receive this call-up for the national camp," the 23-year-old from Sundergarh district in Odisha said on Tuesday.

After making a memorable debut in the junior squad at the Under-18 in Asia Cup in 2009, Rohidas was part of the junior squad right up to the 2013 FIH Junior Men's Hockey World Cup in New Delhi.

He often found a place in the senior camp too and even played in the 2014 Hockey Men's World League Final. "After that for more than three years I was out of the national camp. But I never gave up hope," he stated.

"But the past three years was a difficult phase for me, waiting in the fringes, hoping for a comeback. I stayed persistent and I am thankful to Hockey India as I played back-to-back national championships, got to improve my game in the domestic circuit and earnestly practiced for the Coal India HIL.

"I think it was this year's good stint in Coal India HIL that the selectors noticed me once again. This is like a new lease of life for me," he said.

He also thanked Kalinga captain and German veteran Moritz Furste for keeping him motivated with sound advice during the HIL days. From a very humble background where Rohidas' parents worked for daily wages, he has climbed the success ladder with creditable performances in Coal India HIL where he was first auctioned for $29,000 in 2013.

He has played under two-time Olympic gold medal winner Furste for five years and feels this stint has helped him grow as a player.

"There are a lot of new things you get to learn as a player under Moritz. It was the zest to play an improvised League year after year that kept me motivated despite being absent in the Indian camp," Rohidas, who a product of Panposh Sports Hostel in Rourkela, recalled.

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