Indian junior men's hockey team's forward Sudeep Chirmako has stated that he idolises Akashdeep Singh and hopes to play alongside the experienced forward one day.
"I think the area I play in on the field is very similar to what Akashdeep Singh does for the senior team. He's always very quick with the ball, and his positioning and off-the-ball runs are always very useful for the team, so I always keep a close eye on him, and I hope to one day be able to play alongside him for the Indian team," said Chirmako, who is currently at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) facility.
A winner of the silver medal at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games held in Argentina in 2018, Chirmako is a dynamic forward who has a knack for goals, and is looking forward to making his parents proud.
"It is a wonderful phase in my life and in my young career. I've had the honour and privilege to have represented my country at the highest level with the junior team, and want to keep working hard to one day be able to play for the senior team," said Chirmako.
"I have a dream which I want to fulfil for my parents, and that is to play for the country for many years. I come from a region which is known for its hockey, and several players have represented India, and I wish to do the same by excelling in my duties with the national team," added Chirmako, who was the top-scorer for India at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games with 11 goals.
A product of the Panposh Sports Hostel in Rourkela, the young forward is also well aware of the challenge in front of him.
"I think the best thing about our sport at the moment is that there is so much competition for places, even at the junior level. We've got so many talented players coming through from across the country, and what I want to do is pick up and learn stuff from all of them, and make myself better," said the 18-year-old.
"I think if you want to be a forward player for the Indian team, you need to have everything in your game. I know it is a huge challenge, but I am ready to do everything to improve everyday and earn my position in whichever team I am selected to play in," added Chirmako, who made his junior team debut for India at the 8-Nations Invitational Tournament held in Spain in 2018.