LEEDS-based father and daughter hockey stars Bobby and Ashpal Bhogal are back in business.
But a return to top-class action has not been without its twists, or ruptures even. Rising star Ashpal was injured whilst on England Under-18 duty against Ireland Under-18s back in 2012 – just after her Olympic torch-bearing duties.
A ruptured ACL put the teenage star’s career on standby and, at the same time, dad Bobby was temporarily out of the picture with the Masters team following the passing of his grandfather Hari Singh Bhogal Senior. But some 18 months on, 19-year-old Ashpal is back to full fitness with her 42-year-old father also back on International Masters duty. Scotland international Bobby, who coached Wales in the 2012 World Cup, will be back in action at the Masters Hockey World Cup between June 5-13 in Holland. The reigning British Asian Sports Awards coach of the year qualifies for the World Cup squad through his wife. The tournament is running alongside the senior men’s Hockey World Cup. And Bobby has also paid a big part in the return to fitness of his daughter who is now back and playing for Premiership club Beeston.
Following an England Assessment, Ashpal has also been brought into the England Under-21 training camp and is looking to be selected for the 2014 Women’s Under-21s European Championships. A relieved Ashpal is only glad that her injury ordeal is a thing of the past. “It has been a journey that I would have rather had not gone on,” she said. “This was a career-breaking injury and if it was not for my surgeon MR Ram Venkatesh who has performed a miracle as far I am concerned, my playing career would be over! The post op rehab was left for the first few weeks to the hospital physiotherapist and then my dad took over and put me through a relentless re-hab programme. He kept me away from competitive hockey for over the prescribed period to make sure I was 200 per cent ready and then sent me to the USA for further rehab and intensive fitness programmes.”
With Ashpal back in business, Bobby has been free to focus on his forthcoming Masters Hockey World Cup assault. “I was absolutely delighted when the squad list was released,” said Bhogal. “It’s almost a dream come true playing in this prestigious event and on the world stage. Everybody has ups and downs but it’s what you do during the low periods to get yourself back up and continue playing is what really counts.” Now it’s just a case of choosing what game awaits another Bhogal family member – Bobby’s ten-year-old son Hari. Hari is a junior performance athlete with Bradford City FC but also excelling in hockey and cricket. Eventually the Bhogals will have a decision to make. Bobby added: “We are developing Hari in football, hockey and cricket and will allow him to then choose his path! We follow the teachings of Satguru Uday Singh Ji and continue to thank them in our daily prayers.”