In a dramatic penalty shootout to decide the champions of Sultan of Johor Cup, India’s junior hockey team captain Uttam Singh went second in the sudden death scenario. There had been nothing to separate the two sides in four quarters of hockey, as both India and Australia ended reuglation time tied at 1-1. There had been nothing to separate the sides after the first five attempts in the shootout either.
The pressure was immense. Up stepped Uttam for the second time on the night (he had won a stroke with his first). A miss would have seen his side face heartbreak. He dribbled forward and as he rounded the goalkeeper, he slipped. For a millisecond there, it looked like the chance had gone. But he stepped up quickly and found his footing… and more importantly, the back of the net.
He looked up to the sky in relief. There was no celebration yet, but for now, the 20-year-old had ensured his team stayed in the hunt.
“When I used to be the junior in the junior team, if I did a mistake, toh sorry se kaam chal jaata tha (I can get away with a sorry),” Uttam told Scroll.in. “But now I am the captain and a senior in this team, I…