KUALA LUMPUR: Kirandeep Kaur (pic) is all smiles after winning a spot in the national hockey team at a tender age of 15.
Kirandeep is the youngest of the 18 players named by national coach K. Dharmaraj for the World Series in Singapore, which begins on Saturday.
“I’ve never expected to be named for the World Series,” said the Form Three student of SMK Bukit Bandaraya in Bangsar, who will turn 15 on July 22.
“I thank coach Dharmaraj and his assistant Lailin (Abu Hassan) for having faith in me.
“My childhood dream of becoming a national player has come true.
“This is a big break in my hockey career and I’ll make full use of this opportunity to shine in the World Series.
“I am young and inexperienced but I will not be intimidated with the older players in the meet,” added Kirandeep, who thanked her father Gurdip Singh for introducing her to the sport when she was five.
Kirandeep represented Kuala Lumpur in the National Under-14 tournament for four years since 2014 and she also played for Police in the National Women’s League in 2016.
This year, she featured for Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in the National Women’s League.
The striker was called up for national training just two weeks ago as a replacement for national forward Nurul Nabila Mansor, who is two-month pregnant.
“Usually, a newcomer will take some time to get used to national training but Kirandeep has adapted well,” said Dharmaraj.
“This is a chance for Kirandeep to show her talent in the World Series and become a regular feature in the national team.”
Six teams will compete in the World Series, which is the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Malaysia will open their campaign against Indonesia on Saturday.
Malaysia’s other matches are against Hong Kong (June 24), Kazakhstan (June 26), Thailand (June 27) and Singapore (June 29). The final and third placing matches are on July 1.