‘Proud moment,’ says Sreejesh’s father on India men’s hockey bronze at Olympics
As soon as the final whistle was blown people gathered at the modest house of India hockey goalkeeper in Kizakambalam in Kerala’s Ernakulam turned ecstatic.
PR Sreejesh’s father, PV Raveendran, led the celebration and distributed sweets. “It is a proud moment for us. A dream comes true for us. I am really happy my son Sreejesh played a key role in team India’s success,” he said. The 35-year-old goal keeper stood like a rock with many saves in the dying minutes of the bronze medal match which India won 5-4 against Germany -- a historic win after 41 years of medal drought in the sport.
“We were a bit upset when we lost in the semi finals. But I was sure the team will win a medal,” said Sreejesh’s wife, Annesya. Married in 2012, the couple have two children. People celebrated the occasion by bursting crackers and Kerala Hockey Federation has announced a reward of ₹5 lakh for the goal keeper. The Kerala government has also decided to give a grand reception to him.
One of the oldest players of the team, Sreejesh started taking sports seriously at the age of eight. Initially, he was a sprinter and volleyball player but turned to hockey at the age of 12 at the instance of his coach. Though the sport was not so popular in the state, and many advised him to change track, but he stood his ground. He made his debut in 2004 at the national junior team and got into the senior team two years later. Sreejesh played in three Olympics and the country honoured him with a Padma Shri in 2017.