Uttam Singh is an Indian field hockey player who assumed the captaincy of the Indian junior men’s hockey team in 2022. The player earned popularity when his captaincy led India to win the Sultan of Johor Cup 2022 and the Men’s Junior Asia Cup Hockey 2023.
Uttam Singh was born on Tuesday, 10 December 2002 (age 21 years; as of 2023) in Karampur, Uttar Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. Uttam Singh started playing hockey at the age of 10 years at a Hockey training facility in Karampur village of Ghazipur under the supervision of the late Thakur Tej Bahadur Singh, who used to run the academy. This academy was given the status of the Karampur Hockey Stadium in September 2022. He further honed his skills at the Sports Authority of India Centre (SAI), Lucknow. Uttam Singh in an interview said,
My father could not continue playing because of family pressure. He was the sole breadwinner and hence couldn’t focus on the game. It wasn’t easy for him to take care of my expenses as well. But Tej Bahadur Singh, who passed away this year, and his brother Radhe Mohan Singh took care of my needs even after I moved to SAI Lucknow.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Balck
Parents & Siblings
Uttam Singh’s father, Krishnakant Singh, a farmer and an aspiring hockey player gave up on his dream of playing hockey after the sudden demise of his father, to financially support his family. He now lives his dream vicariously through his son, Uttam Singh. There is not much information about his mother and siblings.
IN 2015, Uttam Singh moved to SAI Lucknow and lived in the hostel where he continuously trained and practised his game. In 2019, he was selected for the Jr. Men National Coaching Camp and had the opportunity to play as a team member of Uttar Pradesh in the Indian Junior Men’s National Championship 2019. In 2021, he featured in the Men’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup campaign, which was hosted by India, where India finished fourth, losing the semi-finals against the eventual runner-ups of the tournament, Germany. Uttam Singh made his debut in the senior Indian hockey team during the Hero Asia Cup 2022 held in Jakarta. India finished third in the Hero Asia Cup 2022 and Uttam Singh emerged as the Rising Player of the Tournament.
In October 2022, Uttam Singh led the 18-member Indian Junior Men’s hockey team at the Sultan of Johor Cup held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. During the finals of the Sultan of Johor Cup, Uttam Singh led India to a thrilling 5-4 win over Australia, by striking twice in the penalty shootouts. Uttam Singh retained his captaincy in the Men’s Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament 2023, held in Salalah, Oman. On 1 June 2023, the Indian team secured a 2-1 win over Pakistan in a nail-biting final, successfully defending their title at the Men’s Junior Asia Cup. Uttam Singh was awarded Player of the match.
Uttam Singh is now focused on the upcoming 13th edition of the FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup, which will begin on 5 December 2023 and will take place at the National Hockey Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Hockey India Jugraj Singh Award for Upcoming Player of the Year 2022
- Uttam Singh grew up in a poor family and it was only when he moved to a hostel, he had access to basic amenities like a fan and a cooler.
- During his time in SAI Lucknow, Raj Kumar Pal, a senior hockey player motivated him and helped him improve his skills such as dodging, tackling, and passing.
- One of the biggest challenges that Uttam Singh faced in his life was training relentlessly for a decade without knowing when his big break would come.
- One of the skills that make him stand out as a forward hockey player is the speed and agility with which he moves on the turf.
- Uttam Singh highly admires his senior, PR Sreejesh, who is a goalkeeper and the former captain of the Indian national hockey team. His jersey number, 16, for the junior men’s hockey team, is inspired by his idol, PR Sreejesh’s jersey number.
- Uttam Singh also takes inspiration from his senior, Manpreet Singh, who led the Indian field hockey team to the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Manpreet Singh often teaches him about the importance of the basics of the game. In an interview when asked about one of the main teachings he received from Manpreet Singh, Uttam said,
Zyada pass karke kheloge toh aur bhi accha kheloge (the more you pass and play, the better you will get). In the first four to five minutes of the match, don’t concede but look to score. If you start the match well, you will finish the match well.”
- Uttam Singh’s favourite teammate is Vishnukant Singh. They lived together in the hostel and in 2022, they made their debut in the senior men’s hockey team simultaneously.
- India won the Sultan of Johor Cup after 8 years under the captaincy of Uttam Singh.
- He was to lead the 20-member Indian Junior Hockey Team in the 4 Nations Tournament played from 18th to 22nd August at Dusseldorf, Germany, but was pulled out of the team due to an injury sustained by him during the training camp at SAI Bengaluru.
- In an interview, when asked about how the captaincy role shaped him, Uttam said,
When I used to play for the junior team as a player, then I would think of giving my 100 per cent on the field and giving enough effort for the team. We get more serious during the one-hour preparation in the camp rather than getting serious before the tournament. To play that one match, I toil in the preparations and that is something I always do. I am captain on the field but I am a player before that.”