Rio Olympics 2016: Devinder Walmiki's inclusion has motivated brother Yuvraj to make a comeback
26-year-old Yuvraj Walmiki, formerly a regular in the first eleven of the Indian men’s hockey team, will not be boarding the Rio bandwagon. But the Uttar Pradesh-born striker is hardly upset about the fact. Instead, the joy he felt on learning about the official 16-member team selected by Hockey India for this year’s Olympics knew no bound – reason being the inclusion of his younger brother Devinder Sunil Walmiki.
A talented midfielder who is often a threat for oppositions in the final third owing to his sharp eye for goal, Devinder’s selection was somewhat of a certainty. The two brothers had represented the Indian team last year when they took the field during India’s Hockey World League campaign. Since then, Yuvraj hasn’t been in his best of form which has seen him being left out of the national team for several tournaments.
Incidentally, despite being an obvious candidate for the London 2012 Olympics hockey team for India, Yuvraj had had to miss out on the tournament because of an untimely injury.
Although they couldn’t repeat the feat at the Olympic stage this time around, Yuvraj was the first person Devinder called to inform of his making the cut when the final teams were announced earlier this week, at which the senior Walmiki was elated. Speaking to mid-day, Yuvraj then shared his immense pride at his brother’s achievement and the emotions that he was going through:
“Devinder is like my baby and I still treat him like one. He may have learnt his hockey from me, but he's achieved this Olympic berth on his own merit. His selection has in fact motivated me to try and make a comeback to the Indian team.”
“Devinder is in the same situation that I was in four years ago. I was in form, but a freak hamstring injury ended my Olympic dream in 2012. So, recently when Devinder returned home from Spain, I ensured he didn't lift a finger. I did not let him ride the bike or drive our car. Even his food intake was monitored. I was desperate to see a Walmiki become an Olympian.”