Kolkata: Discarded India goalkeeper Baljit Singh stood out with a man-of-the-match performance to enable Indian Oil win the Coal India 116th All India Beighton Cup Hockey tournament with a 2-0 win over ONGC on Friday.
In wilderness after a freak eye injury, Baljit impressed everybody in the august gathering including Sports Minister Ajay Maken, thwarting at least five ONGC goals that inspired the last year`s runners-up to a fine victory.
Substituted in the second-half in place of Vivek Chauhan, Baljit immediately made his presence felt, thwarting ONGC moves something that helped Indian Oil hold on to the goalless scoreline.
Inspired by Baljit`s show, Indian Oil took the lead when Affan Yousuf sounded the board in the 58th minute, while Bharat settled the issue three minutes later.
Earlier Indian Oil`s first-half goal from a melee in the 24th minute was cancelled when an aerial lob inside the box was adjudged dangerous play.
Baljit was earlier omitted from the list of India probables for the Asian Champions Trophy citing poor vision in his right eye.
But the Punjab goalkeeper, who also had impressed in the National Games in Ranchi earlier this year with a gold medal winning show, said he was confident of a comeback.
"Despite suggestions from the coach (Michael Nobbs) to retire, I want to make a comeback. I want to prove once again with my performance. Hope they are watching," Baljit said after bagging Rs 5,000 for his man-of-the-match performance.
The title made Indian Oil richer by Rs 1.5 lakh while the runners-up got Rs 1 lakh.
Impressed with Baljit`s show, Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra also announced a cash reward of Rs 25,000 for the Indian Oil goalkeeper.
Mitra also announced Rs 1 lakh for the winners, and Rs 50,000 for the runners-up.