Love for hockey keeps Chikara going

Ipoh (Malaysia): For any sportsperson who has earned fame and adulation, it is always difficult to digest neglect and oblivion and out-of-favour India hockey forward Bharat Chikara is no different.

Chikara, who not long ago was vital a cog in the Indian hockey team`s forwardline and was a member of India`s silver medal winning squad in 2010 Commonwealth Games, has been living a lonely life since losing his place in the national team after London Olympics qualifier.

Like many other seniors, Chiakara`s decision to play in the unauthorised World Series Hockey proved costly as he was labelled a rebel by the national federation and subsequently dropped from the London-bound squad.

But Chikara, who was also part of India’s bronze medal winning squad in Guangzhou Asian Games, is no mood to give up without a fight. At 29, he knows very well that age is not on his side but what keeps him going is his love for the game and faith in his stick work.

Eying one last shot at a national comeback, Chikara is not even thinking about his monetary condition. He is spending money from his own pocket to travel to Ipoh, Malaysia to watch India`s matches in the Asia Cup and get an idea about the team`s changing trends in their style of play.

"I came here a day before the tournament began and leaving after the final. It`s my love for the game and determination to make a return to the national team that brought me here. No one sponsored my trip, I had to shell out money from my savings for this trip," Chikara said when PTI chanced upon him outside the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium here.

"I am out of the team since the Olympic qualifiers. After the qualifiers I went to give my MBA exams at Panchkula and while returning I stayed in Chandigarh to play in the World Series Hockey. Since then I have never been called to the national camp although I have doing very well for Indian Oil Corporation in domestic tournaments," he said.

But with Hockey India deciding to offer amnesty to rebel WSH players, thereby providing them an opportunity to be part of the mini players auction of Hockey India League to be held in October this year, Chikara is hoping for a new beginning.

"I am very much hopeful of making a comeback (in the national team). If there is no hope, there is no way. Hockey India?s decision to include WSH players in HIL auctions is a welcome step," he said.

"I will be there in the auction pool. I am eager to play in next year?s HIL but it remains to be seen whether any team picks me or not."

Apart from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, Chikara also played in the 2010 FIH World Cup held in New Delhi.


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