Tokyo Olympic stars Rupinder, Lakra retire from international hockey

Tokyo Olympic stars Rupinder, Lakra retire from international hockey
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Tokyo Olympic stars Rupinder, Lakra retire from international hockey 

Highlights

Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and defender Birendra Lakra, who played starring roles in the Indian hockey team's historic bronze medal-winning Tokyo Olympics campaign, on Thursday announced their international retirements within hours of each other, creating quite a flutter.

New Delhi: Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and defender Birendra Lakra, who played starring roles in the Indian hockey team's historic bronze medal-winning Tokyo Olympics campaign, on Thursday announced their international retirements within hours of each other, creating quite a flutter.

While Rupinder quit "to make way for youngsters" and announced his decision by posting a statement on his twitter page, Lakra's retirement was confirmed by Hockey India.

It has been learnt from reliable sources that both the players decided to quit after they were informed that they will not find a place in India's scheme of things going forward and will be ignored for the national camp that starts in Bengaluru next week.

The 30-year-old, regarded as one of the best drag-flickers of the country, Rupinder represented India in 223 matches. Nicknamed 'Bob', Rupinder scored four crucial goals, including a penalty stroke in the third-place match against Germany, during India's bronze-medal winning campaign in Tokyo.

"The past couple of months have undoubtedly been the best days of my life. Standing on the podium in Tokyo along with my teammates with whom I have shared some of the most incredible experiences of my life was a feeling I will cherish forever," Rupinder wrote in a statement on his official twitter handle.

Hours later, Lakra followed suit with Hockey India officially announcing his retirement.

The player is, however, yet to make a statement of his own on the matter.

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