In an unique co-incidence, six of the 15 men competing in Indian squad in Junior Hockey World Cup, are sons of professional drivers. Six players – Harjeet Singh, Vikas Dahiya, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, defenders Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar, midfielder Sumit Kumar and forward Ajit Kumar Pandey-all have their fathers working in the profession of driving various kind of vehicles. Harjeet Singh, team’s ever-reliable centre-half, also popular for his garlic Tea in the locker room, is son of truck driver Rampal Singh. Harjeet tells that he learned tea-making skills from his father.
Similarly, Ajit Kumar had his father Jai Prakash working in the driving profession. Jai Prakash worked with a local bigwig Tej Bahadur Singh, more popularly known as ‘Bhaiyya’ in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh, who had his own hockey-academy. Ajit kumar joined hockey on Bhaiyya’s advise for the same to his father Jai Prakash.
Harmanpreet, known for his drag-flicks and one of team hardest hitters, credits the strength in his forearms to hours of driving his father Sarabjit’s tractor.
Varun Kumar, whose father Brahmanand is a Matador 407 driver in Punjab’s Mithapur village, has been flamboyant on the wings. The young lad has showed potential with his drag-flicking ability.
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Goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya, whose splendid performance helped India knock-down Australia in the penalty shoot-outs, has his father working with a private firm in Sonepat. The back-up goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak’s father, Tek Bahadur, who passed away earlier this year, was a crane-operator. Like Vikas, midfielder Sumit Kumar’s father, Ramji Prasad, is also employed as a driver in Varanasi.