Sumit Valmiki, who used to clean utensils in dhabas and weddings, became the strongest link of the Indian hockey team

The Indian team has qualified for the Paris Olympic Games. Sumit Valmiki, who has secured his place as a defender in the team, is one of the strongest links of the team. This journey of Sumit, who was a part of the team that won bronze for hockey in the Tokyo Olympics, is no less than a fairy tale. There was a time when Sumit turned back from the hockey ground and headed back home due to not having shoes. Suddenly a thought came to mind that why not tell the problem to the coach saheb. When Sumit, who was about 10 years old, told this problem to the coach, the coach understood his helplessness. He promised to give him shoes and asked him to come to the ground.

After suffering in the furnace of poverty, talented hockey player Sumit of Kurad village in Sonipat has emerged as gold. Sumit’s childhood was full of struggle and challenges. His father was a sanitation worker while his mother used to take care of the children at home. To contribute to the household expenses, Sumit used to work at a dhaba with his father and brothers. He used to wash utensils at the dhaba so that he could earn some money and feed the people. The dhaba owner sometimes used to give them leftover food to take with him, but there were many nights when there was not a single grain to eat at home. The person who used to suppress his hunger by drinking water has become a winner today and is an inspiration to millions of people.

In an interview, he said that many days passed when there was not even a grain to eat in his house. When he asked for milk from his mother, his helpless mother would avoid it by saying that son, there is no milk even for tea, how can I give you something to drink. Many such days passed in Sumit’s life when he did not get work even in the Dhaba, then along with his brothers, he would go to wash utensils in the weddings held in the village and nearby areas, so that he could get food for the house. Elder brothers Jai Singh and Amit themselves fulfilled the needs of the family by working as laborers and encouraged Sumit to play. In the beginning, Sumit used to practice alone for hours in the field with a stick and ball. His game improved under the leadership of hockey coach Naresh.

He started participating in competitions on behalf of the school. Once the trials for Gurugram hostel were held, he was selected. He stayed in the hostel for about three years. After this, he was selected in Bahalgarh, North Regional Center of Sports Authority of India (SAI). Sumit had to go to Chhattisgarh to participate in rural games (under-16 age group), for which seven hundred and fifty rupees were required. But the financial situation became a hindrance. On this, elder brother Jai Singh mortgaged his watch and sent Sumit to play. Sumit has continuously set new records of success on the strength of his talent, dedication and hard work. Sumit’s mother passed away in November 2020. Hockey player Sumit started earning a name in hockey from school level itself, after which he spread his flair in district level, state level, national and international level competitions.

An excellent mid-fielder, Sumit won the gold medal in the Sultan Johar Cup held in Malaysia and the Junior World Cup in 2016. He also won the Best Player award while participating in the Indian Hockey League in 2016. He won the bronze medal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup held in Malaysia in 2017, reached the semi-finals in the World League held in London, hoisted the golden flag in the Asia Cup held in Bangladesh and also won the bronze medal in the World Hockey League this year. He participated in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Commonwealth Games in 2018. He won the gold medal in the Asian Champions Trophy held in Oman in 2018 and participated in the Senior World Cup. He qualified for the Olympic qualifying round by winning the silver medal in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup held in Malaysia in 2019. He also participated in various hockey competitions held in Belgium, Australia, India, Russia and England.

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