~ A personal tragedy led him to pick up the hockey stick; Looking back, he believes ‘everything happens for a reason’~
New Delhi, 19th June 2023: For India Colts’ Vice Captain Boby Singh Dhami, winning the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 has not only set him up for bigger feats in his career but it has also reinstated his belief in the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Boby was only 10-year-old, when a tragic accident involving his driver father Shyam Singh Dhami, forced his mother to take the decision of sending their youngest son Boby to live with his maternal uncle in Tanakpur – a scenic town in the heart of Kumaon range in Uttarakhand.
Boby’s uncle Prakash was a former national-level hockey player. A young Boby would accompany his uncle to the ground where he trained local kids in hockey. Intrigued by the skill and tenacity the game required, Boby was drawn to the game. A naturally-gifted forward, Boby made swift progress as a forward. By the time he was 16, he was selected to the SAI Centre in Sonepat.
“When my family was struck with difficulties after my father’s accident, we were left with no money. My parents could not even afford my education and my mother decided to send me away to my uncle’s home. As a child, it was obviously difficult to deal with that situation but looking back now, I realise, if that accident never happened then I would have probably never played hockey,” expressed Boby in retrospect.
In 2019, Boby broke into Hockey India’s Junior National Program and in 2021; he was picked in the Junior India team as an alternate player for the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. His selection was backed by a good show in the Sultan of Johor Cup. An injury to Maninder Singh, who was then pegged as the next big thing in Indian hockey, saw Boby getting a chance to showcase his skill at the biggest quadrennial tournament for U21.
“I think I have been quite fortunate in my career. Maninder’s injury got me into the playing XI for the Junior World Cup. Though we finished fourth and were quite disappointed, the loss in the Bronze Medal match only encouraged us to perform better in the coming days. We got tougher mentally and told ourselves that we would not lose any major tournament thereafter,” Boby stated.
Having won the recent Men’s Junior Asia Cup in Oman, beating Pakistan in the Final, Boby believes his team is poised for bigger feats. “We saw the kind of respect and honour the Senior Team received after their Bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics. That really motivated us. We knew winning big tournaments will see us get similar respect and we have. Yesterday, the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi mentioned our victory in Mann Ki Baat. The team is overwhelmed with the appreciation we have received over the past few weeks and has now made us all the more determined to do well in the Junior World Cup in Malaysia,” he signed off.
By Hockey India