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    Arjun Halappa still cannot believe that he has been anointed captain of the Indian hockey team but as he prepares himself for the pressure cooker job, the veteran mid-fielder feels that a skipper should always lead by example.
    Halappa has been a veteran of Indian hockey, having served the national team for nearly a decade. However, it is the first time he will be leading the national team after he was named captain for next month’s Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. 

    “I never thought in my wildest dream that I would become captain of the national team. My father (BK Halappa) used to play hockey but I started playing the game to get a decent job as the financial condition of my family was not good. It was a dream to play for India and today I am the captain. It’s unbelievable,” the mid-fielder from Coorg told PTI Bhasha.

    “A captain should lead by example. He should be a good human being and always keep his cool under pressure. A captain should never get carried away by emotions,” Halappa said. Halappa said as he goes about his job in the Azlan Shah Cup, he would draw inspiration from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rahul Dravid besides former hockey skipper Dhanraj Pillay.

    “Rahul and Dhoni, definitely, are huge source of inspiration. Dhoni has done wonders as a captain and Rahul is a proven performer. I also take inspiration from Dhanraj Pillay, who is one of the best captain Indian hockey has ever produced,” said the senior playmaker.

    Halappa said that Indian cricket team’s World Cup-winning feat is an inspiration for the all sportsperson of the country, irrespective of their disciplines. “We all followed the World Cup as India was doing exceptionally well. The World Cup win is an inspiration for all Indian athletes,” he said.

    Known for keeping his cool on the turf, Halappa said taking unnecessary pressure is not his style of playing. “I don’t take pressure unnecessarily. I always believe in what I do,” said the Olympian, who was a member of India’s silver medal-winning Delhi Commonwealth Games team. Despite going into the Azlan Shah Cup with a relatively young and inexperienced side, Halappa is confident of a good showing in the May 5-15 event, which India won jointly along with South Korea last year after the final was washed out.

    “Last year also we had some new faces in the team but we won the title. I am confident of good show this time as well,” he insisted. In Azlan Shan Cup, India will be without the services of some key players, like drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, Sardara Singh former captain Rajpal Singh and Tushar Khandekar.

    While Sandeep and Sardara are busy playing in the Belgium League, Rajpal and Khandekar are unfit. Halappa, however, said that the senior players will be back in the team before the Olympic qualifiers next year.

    “We have 8 month to get prepared for the qualifiers. If we play to out potential, there is no reason why we can’t qualify for the London Olympic,” he said.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / New Delhi / PTI / Apr 21st, 2011

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    Arjun Halappa, lad from Kodagu will lead the Indian Hockey team in the Sulthan Ajhlan Shah Cup hockey tourney to be held in Malaysia, next month.
    Indian Hockey team captain Arjun HalappaIt is after several years that a Kodava will be leading the Indian Hockey and with this selection, Kodagu district has a reason to celebrate as hockey has been an inseparable part of Kodagu culture. 

    Arjun is the son of B K Halappa and Pramila from Somwarpet. Arjun has been playing in the hockey team for the last 11 years.

    With Arjun Halappa leading the team, he becomes the 6th Kodava to lead the India Hockey team, after M P Ganesh, B P Govind, M M Somaiah, B P Subramani and A B Subbaiah.

    Basking over his son’s achievement, proud father B K Halappa speaking with the reporters said that he was sure that his son would get the opportunity to lead the Indian team one day or the other.

    Mother Pramila, recalling Arjun’s childhood days, said that he used to take part in school-level hockey tournaments and had led the team at various levels. “I am sure he will excel as the captain of Indian Hockey team. It is a big responsibility but I have great confidence that he will do his duty with all dedication,” said Pramila.

    Arjun’s wife Bhavana expressing her feeling said that Arjun has gained lot of experience after being in the team for 11 years and captaincy for him can be a platform to revive the glory of the national game.

    However, the hockey fans who have always felt that Arjun should have been selected as the captain long back, still have a reason to rejoice because it is better late than never.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / DHNS / Somwarpet / Apr 07th, 2011

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