With hockey bronze in Olympics, MP’s Vivek Sagar hopes to revive sport in state
India men’s hockey team’s bronze medal at the Olympics is special for a small village of Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh where people have just woken up to the sport as a career.
Chandaun village is the home of Indian hockey team midfielder Vivek Sagar, 21, who is putting in extra effort to promote hockey.
But there is a story behind this promotion. When Vivek started playing hockey in 2012, his father Rohit Prasad wasn’t quite taken in by the idea. He asked Vivek to concentrate on his studies instead. “I asked him not to waste much time playing hockey...since I wasn’t convinced, he could not even ask me for a new hockey stick. He would play with a damaged stick he borrowed from his friend,” said Prasad.
“He would go for practice without telling me. But once he started playing at state-level, I had to trust him. Today, I am so proud that my son took the right decision,” he said.
Vivek, who went on to lead the junior national team, now distributes hockey sticks with an amount of sponsorship.
Vivek’s brother Vidhyasagar, a software engineer, said, “Vivek wants to see hockey as popular as cricket in India and he is passionately working on it.”
Today, not just the Vivek’s family, or his village, former Olympian Ashok Dhyanchand is also lauding his efforts.
“I still remember when I saw his talent. Six years ago, I had gone to attend a hockey tournament as a guest. Vivek, who was representing the district team, impressed me with his skills. I chose him for MP Men’s Hockey Academy in Bhopal. Before going to the academy, he stayed at my home for a few months and I helped him hone his skills. I am so happy that I chose the right player,” he said.
Former Olympian Jalalludin Rizvi said, “Vivek’s presence in the medal-winning India team will revive hockey in MP, which was once known as nursery of hockey.”
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced ₹1 crore as prize money for Vivek Sagar and another player, Neelkantha Sharma, who was also in MP Academy.