Belgian Hockey's Victor Wegnez feels he has a winning mentality because nothing was given to him (Exclusive)
Life often throws challenges at us and in the quest to conquer them, we must fight them to achieve glory. The story of Belgium's Victor Wegnez is an inspirational tale of struggle, courage, hard work and success. Living in the city of Molenbeek, Wegnez had to face a lot of hurdles in his pursuit of success.
As Wegnez defines, "Molenbeek wasn't an easy place to live in" and that was combined with the aggressive behaviour of Victor's dad which in his opinion only made him stronger and motivated him to take up the sport. The 24-year-old was the part of Belgium's World Cup winning side which he reckons as quite an achievement.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, Victor revisits his childhood and also tells us about his hopes in the upcoming Olympics.
Q. When did you think of Hockey as a professional career and what struggles did you endure in your childhood when you decided to play hockey?
"I started thinking about a professional career later than the others. I was 17 when I started playing for the first time with the youth national team. From there it became a dream to be in the senior team and to live my passion. It was hard with school but I only had to miss 1-2 hours a week so it was hockey. I didn’t have trouble playing hockey at high level, I just had to adapt my school programme but it was worth it."
Q. You used to fight a lot on the pitch when you were younger, how do you bring that aggression to your game?
"Well, I used to fight a lot off the pitch, it’s true. On the pitch I never fought really but I was too aggressive with people and with the umpire. I think it came off because of where I lived and with the hard moments I had with my dad. He was really aggressive with me and was beating me a lot when I was young. I lived in Molenbeek for 23 years. It’s not the best place to live in. I had a lot of troubles with my friends and we had to fight a lot against other people from our neighbourhood but I still have a lot of good friends from Molenbeek."
Q. You once said that Shane McLeod was like a father figure to you, how much has he helped you with respect to your game?
"He is like my father. He always gives me a lot of confidence and he brought me in the senior team when he was appointed as head coach. Before it, I was his captain in the U21 Belgian team. Sometimes he is hard for me but I know it’s for a good reason. He is really an unbelievable person and he is probably the biggest reason why I’m where I’m now. I hope he will continue like that and will pick me for the Olympic Games."
Q. The dream of getting a medal at the Olympics is at the forefront, how has the mindset (positive/negative) been in your career thus far?
"I know nothing was given to me and that’s why I have this fighting mentality. Even now nobody gives me things. I have to work and take them. The Olympic dream is near and I first hope to be selected to go and play in Tokyo and then we will do our best to get the gold in Tokyo. It’s true that we are closer and closer from the Olympic Games but I will keep on working hard to be selected and I hope it will pay off."
Q. Who is your inspiration (on or off the field) and is there a specific advice you follow with regard to your inspiration?
"I love watching Roger Federer and Lionel Messi. They are my sports idols. I was also a big fan of Ronaldinho. For Messi and Ronaldinho it’s amazing to see how good they are in a team and they just give a lot of emotions when they are playing. People are going to the stadium to watch them play. Federer, he is just the best tennisman in the world and he is so class. I hope people are enjoying watching me play because when I’m on the field I’m ready to die to win for my team."
Q. What do you think of Belgium's recent rise in Hockey and what do you think of their prospect in Tokyo Olympics 2020?
"It’s really nice for the Belgium’s hockey that we start talking about our sport a little bit more. The federation put a lot of money and effort for those results. We just hope that it will keep on growing and that we will get a good stadium in Belgium and more money for the formation of the youth, infrastructure but also for the players who play in the national team or not. If you see the football, we are not at 1% of everything they have. I just hope there will be more equality between football and the others sports."
"I also hope that the girls will follow our steps because I know they are working hard to get some good results and they have the team to be in the top five in the world."Published 04 Feb 2020, 21:37 IST