Yuvraj Walmiki has grown up in darkness as the shanty he lives in does not have electricity. On Monday, the 21-year-old from Mumbai was part of the group which basked in the glory of the Asian Champions Trophy triumph.
When Walmiki went to China with the senior team, he was hoping to get enough chances to impress chief coach, Michael Nobbs. He could not have imagined that Nobbs would put India’s fortunes in his hands in the tiebreak shootout against Pakistan in the final.
Walmiki showed nerves of steel as he took the third attempt and gave India a crucial 3-1 lead. What made everyone take note was that it was his maiden stint with the senior team.
“The fact that Nobbs picked him ahead of experienced players was a morale booster and underlines his confidence in Yuvraj's abilities,” said his coach, Murzaban Patel.
“He always wanted a chance and now that Nobbs has shown confidence in his abilities, I hope he makes the most of the opportunity,” he said.
For years, the family of six has managed on the meagre earnings of the parents. Yuvraj, who helped his school, Our Lady of Dolorus High School, excel in inter-school competition, has opened the doors to a better life by landing a job with Air India.
By excelling for the senior team, the final year junior college student of Rizvi College will spur many a youngster in Mumbai to take up hockey. The first in line is his brother, Devender, and cousin, Anup.