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Family celebrates in Kerala as Sreejesh helps India win Olympic bronze in Tokyo

Tears of joy and relief flowed at P R Sreejesh’s house in Kizhakkambalam, Ernakulam, on Thursday as the brilliant goalkeeper helped India clinch an Olympic bronze. 

Published: 06th August 2021 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th August 2021 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

Mandeep Singh celebrates the win with PR Sreejesh on Thursday | PTI

Express News Service

KOCHI: Tears of joy and relief flowed at PR Sreejesh’s house in Kizhakkambalam, Ernakulam, on Thursday as the brilliant goalkeeper helped India clinch an Olympic bronze. It has been a roller-coaster experience for Sreejesh’s family throughout his career and the emotions flowed freely as he finally achieved his greatest dream since he decided to pick up a hockey stick as a youngster. One of the most senior members of the current national squad, Sreejesh has seen the highs and lows that Indian hockey has gone through in its recent history. 

Right from failing to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics to not winning a single game at the 2012 London Olympics, the bronze medal win in Tokyo has cemented Sreejesh’s legacy. “His biggest dream was an Olympic medal and he has achieved it. He never lost belief. He’s been away for more than six months and the past one-and-a-half years have been challenging. He has sacrificed a lot for this and all of us are so happy and proud of everything he has achieved. I’m just looking forward to seeing him,” said Aneesha, his wife.

Family members of Sreejesh celebrating at their residence at Pallikkara in Kochi after India won bronze medal by beating Germany in hockey on Thursday | A Sanesh

When the final whistle was blown, as India beat Germany 5-4, Aneesha broke into tears. Even Sreejesh’s father P V Raveendran, who gave away little in terms of emotions throughout the game, felt the magnitude of the occasion and started embracing family members present. “He has come a long way in his journey and deserves this for all his hard work. The whole team sacrificed a lot and made the nation proud. Lost for words right now. I’m very proud of my son,” said Raveendran. 

His mother Usha, who never stopped praying when her son was in action, also burst into celebrations as Sreejesh helped India cross the line and end a 41-year-long drought for a medal in hockey.  “It is a proud moment for all of us. We believed that India will win bronze even though we lost in the semifinal. It is time to celebrate and we can’t wait to see him back,” she said.

After the win, the first person Sreejesh called was his brother and then spoke to all of his family members. “They were telling me that ‘we are now celebrities because everyone wants to talk to us. We are giving one interview after another’,” said Sreejesh during an interaction.

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