Indian junior hockey team defender Shardanand Tiwari, son of a home guard in Lucknow, is a step closer to representing the nation at the upcoming Junior World Cup. The 17-year-old comes from a humble background and he says that hockey has helped him overcome various challenges in life.
"My dream is to play for the senior team at all major tournaments and win medals for the country. But, it's a step-by-step process, and my first step is to make the final squad for the Junior World Cup. (India) being the hosts and the defending champions, it will be a big challenge for us. We all are excited about it and (will) make the most out of every single day spent at the camp," said Shardanand.
"My friends introduced me to hockey, I started playing with them, and I wasn't really interested in studies, so I picked up sports. I honed my skills at SAI-Academy, Lucknow, and got a chance to play at the Junior National Championship 2019 (A Division), where our team Uttar Pradesh Hockey clinched silver. After that, I got selected for the junior national camp," said Shardanand.
Tiwari, during the summer break from school, worked in a departmental store. to generate funds to buy hockey equipment.
"It has been a challenging journey. I didn't have enough financial support initially as my father was the sole bread earner. He works as a home guard, and I have an elder brother as well, so all the earnings were spent on our studies. In fact, during my school summer breaks, I used to work at a departmental store, where I used to earn around 700 rupees. So, it was tough, I couldn't even afford to buy hockey sticks. But, ever since I picked up hockey, my life has changed. It is everything for me, it has helped me and my family overcome various challenges, and I believe it will certainly help me bring financial stability for my family," he added.