Monday, June 23, 2014

Exclusive: Sardar Singh to get married to England junior hockey player Ashpal Bhogal next year


How can sports celebrities be bereft of romantic relationships? Over the years, we have seen umpteen romantic liaisons between star footballers, tennis players, cricket players, etc. And now field hockey has joined the ‘romance’ bandwagon through Indian star midfielder and national captain Sardar Singh.  We are all accustomed to the ace centre-half toiling manfully on the hockey pitch, often prompting us to marvel at the way he maintains such workload for the national side with ‘poise’ and ‘confidence’. But behind his reticent exterior lies a romantic streak not many know. Well, Sardar is head over heels in love with women’s hockey player Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, who is interestingly, is the first British Asian female to play for the England junior women’s hockey team.

Sardar first met Ashpal during the 2012 London Olympics and according to Ashpal it was ‘love at first sight’ for the duo. “It indeed was love at first sight. I met Sardar for the first time during the 2012 London Olympics, but we officially met outside the hockey pitch in March 2013 in London. We started talking over Facebook and love blossomed between us. We felt as if we had known each other for many years before. We recently got engaged as well,” Ashpal gushes in an exclusive interview.

Sardar soon sounded out his family members about the relationship, which was well received by them. “I told my family about Ash when I returned from the 2012 London Olympic Games and they were really happy to see me find a girl who is compatible with me. My family is excited to have her in the family,” the Indian captain says. Ashpal is also elated to be linking up with Sardar Singh’s family. “Sardar’s parents are really happy to see us together. Mataji and Daddyji have a good understanding and they support our relationship to the hilt,” she lavishes praise.

The highly regarded centre-half plans to get hitched next year. “We both have busy schedules this year – I will busy with the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Champions Trophy, etc, while she will be busy with ‘national’ duties for the England team. We hope to get married sometime next year,” Sardar quips.

Like Sardar, Ashpal is also a midfielder. “It’s a sweet coincidence that I also play in the midfield like Sardar. My specialty lies in injecting short corners. I made my debut for the England junior team against the Dutch in April 2010. I play club hockey in England in the Investec Women's Premier League for Beeston hockey club," Sardar’s would-be-wife reveals.

So, what are Sardar’s favourite food items Ashpal rustle up from time to time? “Well, Sardar loves my cooking. My cooking skills were first tested when he was playing in the Dutch league last year! Since I was brought up in the UK I have a very different diet as compared to Sardar, but I’ve adapted to his eating habits and same vice versa. Sardar has the best of both worlds as I can make his favourite English dishes as well as Indian dishes. Sardar’s favourite European dish is my tomato basil pasta, Indian potato and Aubergine dish veg dish,” she reels out.

In fact, Sardar’s girlfriend was there at the Hague, Netherlands, to support the Indian team at the 2014 World Cup. She intends to be with him for India’s all major international tournaments – Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Champions Trophy later this year.

And with his beau around in Hague, it ensured Sardar had everything going for him to fare well. “Ash is a great support for me, since she plays the game herself she knows how to react in different situations whether it be winning or losing. I really look forward to her being present at my future international appearances as well. Having said that I wish to emphasize that I don't need any motivation representing my country as I play every minute like it’s my last,” Sardar opines.

Sardar has no regrets of shedding the ‘eligible bachelor status’. “Not at all! I was never on the lookout for a life partner, but when me and Ash met we just hit it off. I couldn't have asked for more – Ash is the perfect girl for me, she understands my game, lifestyle and commitment,” he signs off eulogizing his sweetheart.

The writer can be contacted at: suhridbarua@gmail.com
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