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Dhanraj, Gagan present Asia Cup gold medals to Jugraj

By Our Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI SEPT. 30. The Asia Cup hockey champions showered Jugraj Singh with heaps of praise and gold medals in a show of camaraderie with their effervescent drag-flicker.

In a moving gesture, captain Dhanraj Pillay, fellow-striker Gagan Ajit Singh and Tejbir Singh presented their individual gold medals to Jugraj, who is recuperating from major injuries suffered in a road accident early this month.

Jugraj, India's penalty-corner expert, was shifted to Delhi's Batra Hospital for further treatment after he had received initial medical attention in a Ludhiana hospital.

"I am elated with India's win and the gesture of the team to come here and meet me,'' said Jugraj from his hospital bed.

"Gagan, Tejbir and Dhanraj gave their medals to me and I am very much touched with their gesture. This will definitely help me to get better soon,'' Jugraj added.

Niceties apart, the fifth floor of the hospital swarmed with numerous cameramen, the mike holders, policemen and the autograph hunters. The normal-sized room in which Jugraj is being treated overflowed with everyone trying to get the glimpse of the visiting team members.

The mad rush by autograph seekers, which also included resident doctors and nurses, almost cramped the entire area.

Still, Jugraj was to say, "I am better than ever. I want to get better fast and back on the field.''

The President of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), K. P. S. Gill, came calling on Jugraj while the team was also around. "He has to use his willpower to get better. We want him back on the field,'' Gill said.

Skipper Pillay seemingly looked subdued after his public spat with coach Rajinder Singh in Chennai. Pillay attributed the Asia Cup win in Kuala Lumpur to the team spirit and Jugraj's morale-boosting talks.

"We were in touch with him (Jugraj) on a daily basis and he always egged us on to do well,'' Pillay said. "His talks boosted our morale and played a major role in our win'' he added.

Coach Rajinder Singh said that he wished Jugraj to get well soon and join the team. "There is no better drag-flicker than him. We need him very much. Whenever he is ready to play there will be a place for him in the team,'' Rajinder Singh said.

Incidentally, the team sponsors, Sahara India, have planned a grand ceremony in Lucknow on Tuesday evening to `display' the Cup and felicitate the team.

Nevertheless, Jugraj surprised his fellow teammates by honouring all with small trophies.

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