BENGALURU: Govind Raj of Maria Niketan received a composite hockey stick and a sports bag sponsored by Tushar Khandekar, former India star forward, for emerging as the highest goal-scorer of the Jude Felix Hockey Academy’s inter-school hockey tournament. He was also recognised as the most promising player of the tournament and got a composite hockey stick and a sports bag sponsored by Viren Rasquinha, another former India mid-fielder and forward.
Maria Niketan lost to Kendriya Vidyalaya, Hyderabad, in the finals but for Govind Raj, the tournament was a fantastic platform to display his skills and walk away with two awards for his performance.
The 14-year-old started playing hockey in 2008, when he was in fifth standard. Initially, he wasn’t too interested but he gradually developed a liking for it and started to play on a daily basis. The very next year, he was selected for the Maria Niketan junior hockey team. From then on, there has been no stopping this highly-talented lad.
Hockey to him is all about team work. A lot of mind games are played during the match and they keep him sharp and fit. Being coached by the recently-appointed National coach Jude Felix helped him improve a lot, while other former international and national players have also guided him constantly.
Govind Raj is adept at playing from any position and possesses abundant stamina for a youngster of his age.
As he puts on more muscle, he will be a formidable player at any level, though he has a long way to go.
He says India defender Sandeep Singh is his role model. “I love his drag flicks and I want to incorporate them when I play,” said Govind and added, “Dhanraj is also my favourite player.” Apart from hockey, Govind also loves to play soccer.
In Govind, Karnataka surely has a player with a lot of potential and if guided properly, Govind can surely shine at higher levels.