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Jugraj vows to be back with a bang

Ludhiana: In his first message to his fans and well-wishers from the hospital bed, hockey star Jugraj Singh said on Wednesday he would give it his all to stage a comeback to the national side.

The 20-year-old Jugraj, recovering from multiple fractures suffered in a car crash, at the DMCH Hospital here, said he will resume training as soon as the doctors give him the go-ahead.

“I will be back to the field in my old form the very day the doctors declare me fit,” Jugraj said.

The penalty corner specialist said he was grateful to the nation, his admirers and well-wishers who had been praying all along for his speedy recovery.

“The love and affection they showered upon me is really beyond expectation and overwhelming.”

Jugraj said what keeps him going is the desire to play Pakistan and beat them.

“It is always a pleasure to win a match for the country but a victory over Pakistan has its own thrill. I want to have a lion’s share in some such big wins against Pakistan”.

Jugraj, who will miss out on the eight-nation Asia Cup to be played in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia later this month, has been ruled out of action for several months.

Meanwhile, chief coach Rajinder Singh said it would be a tough task to find a “suitable replacement” for Jugraj.

“We are missing Jugraj a lot. This is an unfortunate thing to happen to the 20-year old player. It will be difficult to find a suitable replacement for him. We will be judging the performance of six to seven players in the camp before naming a replacement,” Rajinder said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has decided against sending the national team to Singapore on an acclimatisation trip before the start of the Asia Cup after reports of the dreaded SARS disease resurfaced in the country.

An IHF official said the team will now proceed directly to Malaysia, venue for the September 21-28 Asia Cup, after the preparatory camp winds off here on September 17.

“We had requested the government to give permission to the team to go to Singapore. But now we have changed our mind since a SARS case has been detected there,” IHF protocol officer Suresh Sharma said.

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