Fri, 03 Dec 2021

New Delhi [India], October 23 (ANI): Former Indian men's hockey player Rupinder Pal Singh was overwhelmed after he received a letter of appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his retirement.

PM also sent out the letter to Birendra Lakra on his retirement from the game. Both Pal and Lakra were part of India's recent Bronze Medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The duo announced their retirement on the same day, that is, September 30.

"Overwhelmed to receive this letter from our Hon'ble PM @narendramodi ji. His constant support to athletes has motivated us to do our best at Tokyo2020. Sir, I am inspired by your passion for sport and pledge to continue my contribution to Indian sports," Rupinder Pal Singh tweeted.

Rupinder, who made his international debut in 2010, played a pivotal role in India's Bronze Medal-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Having scored as many as four goals in the tournament, the 31-year-old Lakra, a defender, was part of India's bronze medal-winning side in the Tokyo Olympics. He was also part of the 2014 gold medal-winning Incheon Asian Games team and the side that claimed bronze in 2018 Jakarta. He was the second-highest goal-scorer in the team.

"I read your post in which you announced your retirement from the Indian Hockey Team. I would like to personally thank you for all that you have done for Indian hockey," the letter by PM read.

"In your post, you wrote about how you will carry back great memories of playing with the best in the world of hockey. I want to say that the people of India will have great memories of your own magic on the field. You have been a source of strength for the Indian hockey team and have been integral to every major tournament India has won from 2010 be it the Asian Men's Hockey Championships, Men's Hockey Asia Cup, Commonwealth Games, Hockey World League Finals and more. In the Tokyo Olympics, your performance was crucial to the team's historic success," the letter added.

The 31-year-old Lakra, a defender, who retired hours after Rupinder, was also part of India's bronze medal-winning side in the Tokyo Olympics. He was also part of the 2014 gold medal-winning Incheon Asian Games team and the side that claimed bronze in 2018 Jakarta.

"We athletes contribute our life to sport and when it is acknowledged by Hon'ble PM of the country, it feels like we have really done our bit for nation building. Heartfelt thanks to Hon'ble Narendra Modi ji for his warm gesture. The time spent with you at the interaction after Tokyo 2020 will always remain memorable. Sir, I will surely take up the suggestion made by you regarding visits to 75 schools as part of AzadiKaAmritMahotsav and continue to contribute to my country in my own little way," Lakra wrote on his Instagram.

"I write this letter to express my gratitude to you for your indelible contributions to Indian hockey. You have been a key part of a vital decade for Indian hockey. You also continued the glorious tradition of Odisha of producing outstanding hockey players, particularly defenders," an excerpt from the letter by PM to Lakra read. (ANI)

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