Hockey: New dad Bhogal sets sights on big time

BIG CHANCE: Leeds hockey ace Bobby Bhogal could feature at next year's Olympics in London.
BIG CHANCE: Leeds hockey ace Bobby Bhogal could feature at next year's Olympics in London.
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LEEDS ace Bobby Bhogal is obviously not content with masterminding his daughter to potential Olympic glory – he wants a slice of it himself.

And now there is every chance of just that – Bhogal has been called up to the England Masters hockey squad for the forthcoming World Cup, European Cup and Home Nations.

Bhogal is famed more for his achievements as a national hockey coach – the Yorkshire ace coaches star daughter Ashpal and was named Coach of the Year at this year’s British Asian Sports Awards.

Ashpal last year became the first female Sikh to represent an England hockey side and looks destined for international success, but glory is also on dad’s mind following his triple call-up.

Bhogal has represented the England masters hockey team on previous occasions but it was a call-up for the next big three that mattered most with Masters hockey set to stage a tournament offering medals to coincide with next year’s London Games.

And there is no hiding Bhogal’s excitement over the prospect of what may be to come.

“I am elated about the call-up,” said Bhogal.

“I am delighted that I can again wear the Three lions shirt and in all three major tournaments.”

Bhogal also competed in last year’s masters Home Nations tournament as well as the European Indoor Championships at senior level in 2000.

However, it is the lure of the World Cup and potentially even the Olympics that has got him excited the most.

“For next year’s Olympics they have asked every nation competing to bring a Masters team as well,” he said.

“Hopefully we can also get a medal.

“Having competed in the European Indoor Championships, I have experience of the European teams and knowledge of their playing style.

“But it’s the dream of all athletes to compete in the World Cup and Olympics Games and I am looking forward to playing and competing the best I can for my country.”

Bhogal feels one man in particular has been key to his call-up, revealing: “Having had chronic back pain and referred symptoms last year, I was rescued by James Tyrell Nestor, the Principle Sports Therapist & Back Pain Expert at Leeds Massage Ltd.

“He looks after all the body’s muscles systems and helps to prevent injuries. He is an absolute legend and I owe most of this selection to him.”

Bhogal also wishes to dedicate his recent call-up to the daughter of a close friend who died recently.

He said: “I would like to honour this selection to Shamira Grant, daughter of my close friend Gary Grant who died a few weeks ago.”

Grant would certainly have been proud with success beckoning on a playing front for Bhogal – Leeds’ very own 2011 coach of the year.

However, Bhogal has not forgotten his more famous role – nor the influence of his teenage daughter Ashpal.

He said: “Winning the British Asian Sports Award was fantastic and was won due to the hard work that Ashpal had put in.

“The coaching is basically to allow these types of high-performance athletes to realise their dreams.”

“But playing has always been my forte and now I am realising my dreams.”

Harrogate Town fans.

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