Image Credits: @HockeyIndia
The 17-year-old, who is aiming to make the final team for the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, spoke about his journey.
For India Junior Men's Hockey Team defender Shardanand Tiwari, hockey is everything. Born in Lucknow, the 17-year-old player comes from a humble background and he believes hockey has helped him overcome various challenges in life and it will bring financial stability for his family.
Currently part of the Indian Junior Men's Core Probables Group for the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, Shardanand took a moment to reflect on his journey and spoke about how he got inspired by his hardworking father, who works as a home guard in Lucknow.
"My friends introduced me to hockey, I started playing with them, and I wasn't really interested in studies, so I picked up sports. I honed my skills at SAI-Academy, Lucknow, and got a chance to play at the 9th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2019 (A Division), where our team Uttar Pradesh Hockey clinched the Silver Medal. After that, I got selected for the Junior National camp," said Shardanand, who was part of the Uttar Pradesh U21 team that clinched Gold at the Khelo India Youth Games 2020.
"It has been a challenging journey. I didn't have enough financial support initially as my father was the sole bread earner. He works as a home guard, and I have an elder brother as well, so all the earnings were spent on our studies. In fact, during my school summer breaks, I used to work at a departmental store, where I used to earn around 700 rupees. So, it was tough, I couldn't even afford to buy hockey sticks. But, ever since I picked up hockey, my life has changed. It is everything for me, it has helped me and my family overcome various challenges, and I believe it will certainly help me bring financial stability for my family," he added.
The young defender made his debut for the junior national team at the 2019 Sultan of Johar Cup, where India clinched the Silver Medal. Speaking about the achievement, Shardanand said, "It was my debut tournament with the national team, and the moment I got to know that I've made the cut, I called my dad. I told him that I will be playing for India, he got very emotional, and, that moment I realised, my dad is the reason behind it. I see him as my biggest inspiration. He used to stay awake in the night and also used to work in the day only because I and my brother could pursue our dreams."
Shardanand, who dreams of representing India at the highest of levels, is aiming to make the final team for the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021.
"My dream is to play for the senior team at all the major tournaments and win medals for the country. But, it's a step-by-step process, and my first step is to make the final squad for the upcoming Junior World Cup. Being a host and the defending Champions, it will be a big challenge for us. We all are excited about it and make the most out of every single day spent at the camp," he signed off.