India has broken the 15 years jinx to clinch the Junior Hockey World Cup by producing a clinical performance to outclass maiden finalists Belgium 2-1 and lifted their second trophy.
According to a Times of India report, team’s coach Harendra Singh revealed about a pledge he had taken 18 years ago , when he became a coach, after being dumped as a player from the national team.
“I told myself that day that I may never be an Olympian, but I will nurture Olympians and world champions the country will be proud of. I've never seen the Indian tricolour fly high at a World Cup, I want to see it this time. I've invested 22 years of my life to see an Indian team lift the World Cup,” Times of India quoted Harendra as saying.
The victory comes through a journey full of sacrifices and struggle of a team which was carved out of raw talent and brought together in April 2014.
Krishna Pathak, team’s second goalkeeper, didn’t attend his father’s funeral who passed away a few months ago, as the team was heading to England for a series.
A surprising fact is that seven members of the junior hockey team, including captain Harjeet, are sons of drivers.
Given the team’s strengths and sacrifices, everyone expected a top finish but the dedication and game quality made the team champions for the second time.
With this win, India became only the second nation after Germany to win the Under-21 title more than once. Germany, who overpowered Australia 3-0 to secure the third spot on the podium, have won six titles.