Devinder Walmiki: 10 things to know about India's hockey star looking to make waves at Rio 2016
Devinder Walmiki is a very important player for the Indian hockey team and is considered to be one of the main forces in their offence. The youngster will be a part of the team that is going to represent India at the Rio Olympics. He has been training really hard to ensure the team wins a medal at the Games.
Let us now take a look at 10 facts about Devinder:
1. Devinder Sunil Walmiki was born on 28th May 1992 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He is an integral part of the Indian hockey team, and primarily plays as a mid-fielder. He is the younger brother of Yuvraj Walmiki, who plays as a halfback for the national team.
Devinder has been a bright, talented lad right from his junior days and is considered to be an upcoming star in the world of hockey.
"We used to spend a lot of our time on the field trying to learn what the other hockey players were trying to do. To our parents' credit, they did not prevent us from taking up the game.”
2. He represented India for the first time at the Sultan Johor Cup in Malaysia, in 2010, where his excellent performances caught the eye of the selectors.
3. He started playing hockey at the age of nine and was a stupendous player for his local clubs – Bombay Republicans, Union Bank of India, Air India, who earned many accolades and tournaments thanks to his contribution to the team.
"Once I got selected for the senior team, I told myself that it's show time for the next one year. Obviously, I didn't expect to be a part of the Olympic squad then, but I just took it match and match, and I feel I did a decent job."
4. Walmiki made his debut for the senior team in the FIH World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium in 2015 where he scored a goal that helped India win the match.
“It’s always a matter of pride when you play for your country and playing for the team in the World League was special in its own way, but the road to the team was no doubt full of hard work and elongated practice sessions. But, everything was worth it when I was standing on the pitch singing the national anthem. It was no doubt the moment of a lifetime.”
5. He is a gifted player who is clever, sensible and has a keen presence of mind, and has the ability to forecast the play and deliver the ball accordingly, which pressurizes his opponents. He is also quick on his feet and his lightning-fast reflexes make life miserable for the opposition team.
6. He had a major role to play in the 3-3 draw against Argentina at the 6 Nations Invitational tournament in July 2016, where he scored a superb goal in the 57th minute to help his team draw the intensely contested match.
7. The duo joins a selected pair of brothers (only a couple of siblings) have represented India in the World Cup. Devinder and his elder brother Yuvraj created history by joining an elite list of just two siblings to represent India in a World Cup, when they were chosen to play for the side in the 2014 World Cup in Hague.
Devinder is very close to his brother and considers him to be his inspiration.
“Yuvraj, who else? After all it was he who started it all. Whatever I am in life today, it is because of him. He is not only the elder brother but also the one who has inspired me to take to the game.”
8. Devinder Walmiki represents the Kalinga Lancers in the Hockey India League and gave some amazing performances for the side in the inaugural season in 2013. The team restored faith in him and retained him, who had bought five for a price of around $60,000 USD. He represents the Railways in the domestic circuit.
9. He was given a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh by Hockey India for scoring a goal on his debut in the FIH World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium. He had scored one of the three goals in India’s 3-2 win over France in the team’s first match in the tournament.
“It is always a pleasure to help the team in any kind of situation. But scoring when the team needs it always makes you feel much happier.”
10. Devinder has been coached by legendary players like Dhanraj Pillay and Mezbaan Patel in his club days, and gives credit to them for turning him into an excellent player for the side. He has become indispensable and is considered to play a major role in India’s quest for a medal at the Olympics.