Vivek Sagar, who joined the hockey team at the age of just 17, got a place in the Olympic team

Most players have to toil hard for years to establish themselves globally. However, Indian men’s hockey team midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad has a different story and he achieved success quite early. Vivek Sagar Prasad made his debut for the Indian team in January 2018 at the age of 17 years, 10 months and 22 days, becoming the second youngest player to represent his country. Since then, he has played in over 90 international matches for India. Playing as a midfielder, Prasad played a key role in India’s bronze medal win at Tokyo 2020.

Vivek Sagar Prasad was born on 25 February 2000 in Shivanagar Chandan village near Itarsi city of Madhya Pradesh. As a child, Vivek Sagar Prasad loved to play chess, badminton and cricket and his introduction to hockey was a mere coincidence. He was first introduced to hockey in the year 2010-11. In fact, the hockey coach at the school where Vivek studied offered to train students who wanted to play the game. The magic of hockey soon overtook young Vivek. He used to practice in a small place near his house even in his spare time and in a few months, the player started playing beyond the school level.

While playing in a local senior-level tournament in Akola in 2013, Vivek Sagar Prasad, who had scored the winning goal in the 1975 Hockey World Cup final, caught the eye of Ashok Kumar. After the match, Vivek Sagar Prasad was offered a placement at Ashok Kumar’s MP Hockey Academy in Bhopal. The talented midfielder grabbed the opportunity and continued to hone his skills at Ashok Kumar’s institute for the next few years. In 2016, it was almost certain that Vivek Sagar Prasad would make it to the Indian team for the Junior Hockey World Cup. But, just before that, he suffered a terrible injury that threatened his career. The injury dashed his ambitions.

The midfielder injured his collarbone during a practice match and was out of action for months. This also led to depression. It took Vivek Prasad some time to prove to the management that he was worthy of a place in the senior team. He then replaced former India captain and veteran Sardar Singh in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games squad. Later that year, he scored four goals in the Asian Games in Jakarta to help India win the bronze medal. Prasad also equalised against Australia in the final of the 2018 Champions Trophy in the Netherlands. However, India had to settle for the silver medal after losing to Australia in a shootout.

Prasad led the Indian junior team at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018. He not only played a vital role in the midfield, but he was also the joint-highest goal scorer for India in the tournament. He was named the Best Young Player of the Tournament at the FIH Men’s Series Finals in 2019. Prasad also won the FIH Men’s Rising Star of the Year the same year. Vivek played all eight matches for India at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He scored a crucial goal in the final minutes of the match against Argentina to put India 2-1 ahead. India won 3-1 and qualified for the knockouts. Although it was Prasad’s only goal of the tournament, it was the first time for the Indian team that they had won a medal at the Olympics in 41 years. Prasad’s contribution was very important in this historic bronze medal win. In the year 2021, he was awarded the Arjuna Award which is India’s second highest honour for sportspersons.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top