New Delhi:Such was his single-minded devotion to hockey that Baljit Singh, now lying on a bed at AIIMS with a damaged eye, postponed his marriage so that it does not distract him from achieving his primary goal of playing in the 2012 London Olympics.
Jasbir Singh Bajwa, the Chandigarh coach who groomed Baljit since he was 14, said hockey meant everything for the youngster who is on the verge of losing his full vision after a freak mishap during goalkeeping practice with a golf ball in Pune.
"He has only one goal in life, that is to play in Olympics and help the country win a medal," Bajwa said.
"Baljit is engaged to a girl and the marriage was supposed to take place in December. Baljit deferred it, saying he wants to first play in Olympics before he ties the knot," Bajwa said.
Dwelling on the accident, Bajwa was baffled how the practice with golf ball took place without proper precautions.
"More than any other player, a goalkeeper's career hinges entirely on his eyesight and hence you can't take chance with your eyes. That's why I always use tennis ball which is bigger and does not swing," Bajwa said.
Former player Col Balbir Singh, who saw Baljit from close quarters as the manager of the Indian team in the Four-Nation Gold Cup Hockey Tournament in Chandigarh in May, was equally upset after the mishap.
"Having seen him in the Gold Cup, I was convinced that Baljit was answer to Indian hockey's search for a quality custodian. If the eye injury rules him out of international hockey, it would be a huge setback for Indian hockey," he said.
"I don't know what exactly happened in practice but the thing is if you are practising with golf balls, you have to ensure that the safety measures are all in place," he added.