~The local lad performed admirably, scoring 2 goals in the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023~
Bengaluru, 26th August 2023: For S Karthi, the 21-year-old lad from Tamil Nadu’s Kovilpatti, a chance in the recently concluded Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 meant the world, as his parents got the chance to watch him play live in the stadium for the first time.
Not only did Karthi make this a special outing for his parents, who attended every single match, but the Indian Team made it doubly special for his family by winning the record 4th title by defeating Malaysia in the Final 4-3. It should be noted that India did not lose a single game throughout the tournament, defeating Japan in the Semi-Finals 5-0. During the Pool stage, India defeated traditional rivals Pakistan (4-0), defending Champions Korea (3-2), Malaysia (5-0), China (7-2) and held Japan to a 1-1 draw.
“I was ecstatic when it was announced that the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 would be held at my home ground, Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai,” Karthi said.
“To have this opportunity to go back to the stadium where it all started for me and put on a show for the fans had me sleepless at night,” he added.
Karthi last played at Chennai’s Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium as a schoolboy in 2016. Karthi described the moment he stepped onto the pitch in front of so many people as “special,” as if he was carrying the hope of all the fans in the stadium.
“It felt incredible to walk onto the pitch each time, with hockey-hungry fans cheering for us. I am really grateful that people from all around the state came to watch us play and supported me and the team throughout.”
Karthi’s first goal came when India played Malaysia in the Pool stage and won by a comfortable 5-0 margin. The 15th-minute strike from Karthi initiated a thunderous roar from the Chennai locals present in the stands.
Recounting his thoughts after his first goal, Karthi said, “One memory that I will always cherish is scoring my first goal of the Tournament against Malaysia, this was the very first goal that I scored in front of my family who were watching me play for the first time. As I scored, I turned around to look at my parents and the smiles they had on their faces made it all worthwhile. At that moment, all the years of hard work that I put on the turf, all the sacrifices my family made to ensure I followed my dream, all the financial struggles we faced, it all came good and I hold this moment close to my heart.”
Karthi made his debut for the Indian Men’s Hockey Team at the Hero Asia Cup 2022 which was held in Jakarta and has, since then been on the fringes of the team. With this impressive performance under his belt, Karthi now has his eyes set on cementing his place in the Senior Men’s Team.
“The title win at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 has given me immense confidence and has made me all the more determined to work hard, and prove my worth to wear the India jersey again.”
By Hockey India