New Delhi [India], March 30 (ANI): Last week, Hockey Jharkhand made history when they were crowned champions of the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021. Many of Hockey Jharkhand's players had to rise above challenging circumstances -- at home and on the turf -- to make a name for themselves. Even in the Final, they were up against favourites and hosts Hockey Haryana but emerged winners following a shootout.
Hockey Jharkhand President Bholnath Singh hailed the Hockey Jharkhand side's resolve. He said, "I am to see the Hockey Jharkhand team perform exceedingly well and emerge winners of the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021. Many of the boys have battled odds and have become excellent players. I am sure they will bring more glory to the state of Jharkhand."
Duga Munda, Hockey Jharkhand's goalkeeper, was one of the players of the tournament. He helped his side win shootouts in the Semi-Final and the Final. Duga is now reaping the rewards of his parents' struggles over the years.
"I was keen to play hockey from the time I was a primary school student. I passed the trials for the RDC Centre in Kothi, where I am from. They were the ones who helped me with equipment my parents didn't have the resources to support me," Duga said.
Being the eldest of four boys, the 16-year-old Duga is determined to go to the top. "During my spare time, I help my dad, who is a farmer. My parents are happy to see me do well but making ends meet is still quite a task during these times."
Duga's hurdles are identical to Adisan Minj's, who finished as Hockey Jharkhand's top scorer in the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021 with six goals. Adisan also helps his father, a farmer in Simdega. Eleven players from Hockey Jharkhand's winning side are based in Simdega, who now have new state-of-the-art turf.
"I could procure a hockey stick only after borrowing money from a friend. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to balance studies, play hockey and help my family. I want to repay the faith my parents have in me. It is my dream to play for the senior team someday," Adisan said.
It was testing times for forward Deepak Soreng and his family during the nationwide lockdown period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The lockdown period was particularly hard as it affected my training sessions and my family had no source of income," Deepak said. "I had to work in the field with my father as well to support my parents. I want to play for India one day, as my parents have sacrificed a lot to help me." Deepak also had a memorable tournament, scoring three goals.
At 14, Kuldeep Balra is among the youngest members of the Hockey Jharkhand side that won the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021. Like many of his teammates, he was doing odds jobs to support his family.
"Today, I am a hockey player only because of the help of friends. I used to play with a makeshift hockey stick when I was younger," Kuldeep said. "Since the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a lot tougher for my father, who is in agriculture. I had to drive a rickshaw and sell vegetables so that the family could have a steady income. I am overjoyed that we [Hockey Jharkhand] managed to win the tournament. It was a result of a lot of sacrifices, hard work and determination," the teenager added. (ANI)