'Became goalkeeper because I didn't like running at all': PR Sreejesh shares his journey | Hockey - Hindustan Times
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'Became goalkeeper because I didn't like running at all': PR Sreejesh shares his journey

ANI |
May 28, 2024 06:54 PM IST

Sreejesh said that if you want to be a goalkeeper in hockey, you have to be somewhat "crazy" to perform at the highest level.

Indian men's hockey team goalkeeper Sreejesh on Tuesday revealed that he played various sports, including shot-put, before choosing hockey as his staple.

Sreejesh is expected to represent India in men's field hockey in Paris 2024.(Getty Images)
Sreejesh is expected to represent India in men's field hockey in Paris 2024.(Getty Images)

In an interview with cricketer Dinesh Karthik on JioCinema's 'Get Set Gold', Sreejesh disclosed why he chose to be a hockey goalkeeper - so that he does not have to run around like the forwards or defenders. He was happy doing a lap of the ground and then just blocking the shots under the bar.

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"Hockey was not easy because you need to bend, you need to play. That was tough for me. And over that, you need to run. I was an overweight guy. I didn't like running at all. So, I have seen these goalkeepers in full kit, standing in a corner and kicking the ball. I thought that was pretty funny because they're not doing anything. They're not running. They're just wearing the pad and kicking the ball. So, I thought this was the right position for me because you don't need to run. You're a part of the hockey team and you'll get grace marks. That's how I became a goalkeeper," the 36-year-old player said.

However, Sreejesh said that if you want to be a goalkeeper in hockey, you have to be somewhat "crazy" to perform at the highest level.

"The goalkeeper has to be a crazy person. Crazy, because you just need to have the guts to stand in front of that ball. The second thing is aggression, you need to be an aggressive person, and those reflexes have to be there. You don't get much time to just think, 'Save.' No, you just need to save it. Then you realize, 'Okay, I made that save'" Sreejesh said.

The Indian men's hockey team is headed to Paris in 2024 to build on the incredible Bronze medal finish in field hockey at Tokyo 2020. T20 World Cup winner Dinesh Karthik spoke to India men's hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh on JioCinema's 'Get Set Gold', where the legend opened up on his career and how he ended up as a hockey player.

Sreejesh revealed he had to get through some other sports before coming across hockey.

"I was a shot-put athlete in my school days because I was overweight with a lower height. So, my team was better than me. Then I went for football, but there were a lot of football players already packed on that ground. I tried volleyball, but I was not good enough. Then I saw hockey," the goalkeeper said.

Even though he started playing hockey to try and get grace marks on his Kerala State board exam, he carefully picked his lane when he realized he didn't have the physical tools to be an outfield player.

Sreejesh rewrote Indian hockey history, becoming the only men's player from India to win the World Games Athlete of the Year (2021). The goalkeeper has won 16 international medals, including the Olympic Bronze (2020), two Asian Games Gold medals (2014, 2022), two Commonwealth Games Silver medals (2014, 2022), and four Asian Champions Trophy Gold medals (2011, 2016, 2018, 2023), among other accomplishments.

Sreejesh is expected to represent India in men's field hockey in Paris 2024. India has been seeded with Belgium, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, and Ireland in Group B of the tournament, as they hope to make a deep run into the medal rounds.

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