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Hockey: Good chance to learn from senior players, says Pawan Rajbhar on being included in national camp

After an impressive showing at the Men’s Asia Cup 2022 in Jakarta earlier this year, midfielder Pawan Rajbhar is hoping to build on his experience in the Asia Cup and make it to the Indian men’s hockey team for the FIH Pro League and subsequently the World Cup in January 2023.

Rajbhar was recently picked among the core probable group for the National Coaching Camp that started on October 3 to prepare for the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-2023 season opener in Bhubaneswar.

Speaking about his experiences of playing at the Asia Cup, where the Indian team led by Birendra Lakra won the bronze medal, Rajbhar said that it was a memorable moment for him to don the Indian jersey for the first time.

“Getting the jersey for the first time was a proud moment for me. It was always my dream to play for India. I felt a lot of pressure on me in the first two games of being on television and being watched by hockey fans around the world. But after the first two games, my nerves settled down and I started enjoying myself,” the 24-year-old said.

Rajbhar had a good showing in the tournament as he scored four goals, and was also named the Player of the Match twice, against Indonesia and Malaysia.

“It was a great pleasure for me to work under the guidance of Birendra Lakra and coach Sardar Singh, who are both legends of the game. They helped me and gave me advice on how to deal with pressure. Once I was able to play freely, I was able to perform well. Getting my first goal in the Indian jersey is an unforgettable moment for me as my parents saw me scoring on television,” Rajbhar added.

Rajbhar, who hails from the Karampur district of Uttar Pradesh, is excited to be a part of the National Coaching Camp at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru, as he believes he will get to learn from the best Indian players.

“I am really keen to attend the National camp and do well there. It will definitely be a learning experience for me to train alongside the senior Indian players, who have performed so well for so long,” Pawan, who is currently competing for Uttar Pradesh at the National Games, said.

He also expressed hopes that he gets to be a part of the Indian squad for the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022/23 matches against Spain and New Zealand, which are set to take place between October 28th and November 6th.

“I hope I get a chance to play at the FIH Pro League and test myself against strong teams. I will continue to work hard and hopefully earn an opportunity for myself soon,” he signed off.

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