India hockey skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad is going to lead the team at the upcoming FIH Junior Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar and is aiming to win the cup again for the country. Ahead of the tournament, the player from Madhya Pradesh revealed that the unity of the team is their greatest strength.
India junior hockey team skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad believes that the team's greatest strength is its unity, going into the World Cup, starting November 24. Talking about the improvements shown by the team since 2017, Prasad said, "The team performed better in 2018 and 2019, but in 2020, the Covid period was a period of struggle for all. But the players remained and trained together with the aim to win the title (in Bhubaneswar), and hence the unity and the bond between them has improved a lot.
"The structure of the team has also improved."
The first time Vivek led the junior side was in 2017, during the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, where the side finished third. He was named the 'Young Player of the Tournament as well. Post that he received the maiden call-up to the senior side too. But success hasn't come easy for the youngster, and his early years in the sport were no less than a struggle.
"In 2013, in one of the small tournaments in my village in Itarsi district, Madhya Pradesh, Ashok Dhyan Chand came as the chief guest. He picked me from there and gave me an opportunity to come to the academy. I was shocked that such a big player is calling me to his academy. I could not believe it," Prasad recalled.
"Two years later, I came to India junior national camp. But unfortunately, I was not selected in the 33-man core group. A week later, when I went back to the academy, I suffered a major injury as my collar bone broke. After the operation, it took me around five months to recover. After I returned, I received another injury, and it was serious. The doctor told my parents that there is very little chance of my recovery. But I kept my focus on my recovery, and my family and friends helped me at that time," he shared his struggle and tough days.