Boby Singh Dhami: ‘accidental’ hockey player who fought in most difficult times to play for India | Hockey News

BHUBANEWAR: Things in life happen for a reason. We curse things and sometimes celebrate the unfolding of life. But it is only later, especially years later, that many of us understand why things turned out the way they did. Boby Singh Dhami’s life journey so far, which has seen him wear the India hockey jersey, is another such story waiting to be told.
“Ab mujhe bhagwan se koi shikayat nahi (now I have no complaints from God).” Boby’s first coach and his uncle Prakash Singh couldn’t hold back their emotions as Boby stepped onto the pitch in India’s quarter-final against Belgium in the Junior World Cup underway here at Bhubaneswar.
Plus, it was the first time Boby’s parents, 19, had seen him play hockey since picking up the stick at the age of 10. The emotions of his mother, whom Boby is closest to, struggled to find words amid a choking voice recalling the difficult journey.
This explains Prakash’s mention of the word “shikayat” (complaint) in the above statement, which is set against the backdrop of the trials and tribulations that the family went through.
TEST TIME
Boby’s father, Shyam Singh Dhami, is an MGNREGA contract worker these days, and mother Hema Dhami’s steady source of income as a teacher is what the family relies on, living in Katyani village. from the Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.
Boby’s older brother was recruited by the Indian Army last year.
But years ago, when Boby was only 10 years old, tragedy struck.
His father was a jeep driver at the time, carrying passengers through the district which is of great political importance as the last district in neighboring Tibet state. It also shares the border of India with Nepal.
During one of these trips, the brakes on his jeep failed. Realizing, he alerted everyone in the vehicle to jump before the vehicle left the road before crossing the mountainous area.
He dived and fled, but unfortunately none of the other four passengers was able to do so. They are all dead.
What happened next ruined the simple and happy life of the Dhami family.
The families of the passengers, Boby’s mother said, have taken the father to court and asked for compensation. The aftermath of the tragic accident ruined them.
“Boby was only 10 years old at the time,” his mother said. “I had no choice but to send him to his uncle in Tanakpur.” She recalled while speaking to TimesofIndia.com.

(Photo courtesy – Hockey India)
HOCKEY TRIP
The youngest of the two sons in the family, it will not be wrong to call Boby an “accidental” hockey player in more than one way. It was his father’s “accident” that led him to decide to live with his uncle and it was “accidentally” that his uncle, a former national level player, was a hockey coach.
“His grandmother (grandfather) advised me to let him stay with his uncle. Our financial situation was very bad at the time. We could not afford to pay for his studies, and there was no school in our village at the time. So we sent him to his uncle, said the mother.
Boby began accompanying his uncle Prakash to the ground in the morning, where Prakash trained local children. Soon he joined the lot and became one of the interns.
Prakash spotted a talented striker in his nephew, encouraged him to take him seriously and it didn’t take long for Boby to be selected for Maharana Pratap Sports College in Dehradun.
He was then studying in sixth standard. By the time he moved up to Class 12, he had honed his skills enough to qualify for the Sonepat Center of the Sports Authority of India. From there, he trained with SAI coaches Suresh Baithiyal and Pankaj Rawat and also played the national championships.
“Playing for India he gave me everything,” Boby’s uncle Prakash said, speaking to TimesofIndia.com from Tanakpur. “I have no more wishes to fulfill now.”
“We come from a remote village in the border area. From there Boby continued to play for India. What more could you ask for!”

(Photo courtesy – Hockey India)
PUT ON THE INDIA JERSEY
After breaking into the core group of the Indian Junior Men’s Team, Bobby’s resume received another highlight with his selection to the 20-member Indian squad for the ongoing 2021 Junior World Cup.
And it was another “accident” that gave Boby a chance to make his international debut.
One of India’s main playmakers, Maninder Singh, suffered a hamstring injury in the team’s last group game against Poland.
The Chandigarh Hockey Academy player was sent off for the remainder of the tournament and coach Graham Reid selected Boby from the two “substitutes” to be included in the 18-man squad.
“The coach told me that Maninder’s injury would not allow him to continue so you have to play,” Boby said speaking to TimesofIndia.com.
Bobby was a common thread in the Indian attacking line against Belgium, impressive with his run off the ball, but also made some mistakes in the rush to pass the ball.
“I was concentrating on doing nothing more and keeping it simple. But the haste a few times after receiving the ball led to mistakes,” Boby admitted in a conversation with TimesofIndia.com.
Butterflies in the stomach now seem to be a thing of the past, and Boby hopes to do better in the semi-finals against Germany on Friday.
“Pehli baar hota hi hai (it can happen to beginners). Now I have no more nervousness, I feel comfortable. I have realized my dream and now I will play better,” said the player. 19-year-old at TimesofIndia.com.
Boby echoed his parents’ emotion. After all, he was on the pitch representing India for the first time. He said staying away from home and being from a remote part of India were the reasons his mother and father had never been able to see him play before.
“When I was training in Dehradun my house was very far away … so they could never come. There were also a lot of financial problems,” he said.
India’s victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals gave Boby’s parents and coaches another chance to see him play, and possibly also in the final if the defending champions can beat Germany in the semi-finals. final.
Their pride and enthusiasm are palpable, and it is in Prakash’s words that they are best expressed.
“Uss din jab Boby ke paas D mein ball aayi, at the main jouha ‘Boby maar’. Aise laga jaise mai khel raha hu (when Boby got the ball the other day in the circle, I shouted ‘Boby take one stroke. I felt like I was playing on the pitch myself). ”

Catherine J. Martinez