How a Kochi village celebrated the Indian hockey win in Olympics

Indian hockey team goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh’s family members watching the Olympic bronze medal match at their home in Pallinada, near Kochi, on Thursday morning.  

When their relentless siege of the Indian goal won the Germans a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the Olympic hockey bronze medal match at Tokyo on Thursday morning, a collective gasp went up at Parattu, the house of Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh in the idyllic village of Pallikkara near here.

Then time stood still as Sreejesh made that historic save and raised his arms in triumph. And the house erupted in celebration of the hero who played a crucial role in bringing Indian hockey Olympic laurels after 41 long years. Within moments television channels were to flash his new sobriquet ‘the Saviour’, which may stick for the rest of his life.

“Conceding a penalty corner in the last seconds in such a crucial match can be so nervy, But then the joy was much more when he saved it,” said P.V. Raveendran, father of Sreejesh. His mother Usha, his wife Aneeshya, seven-year-old daughter Anusree, and four-year-old son Sreeansh were there to celebrate the moment.

Hardly 10 minutes later, a beaming Sreejesh came on a video call to share the moment with his family.

Before the match, Sreejesh had called his family around 5 a.m. “He was very confident even then. He was able to move on from that defeat against Belgium in the semifinal,” said Mr. Raveendran.

The family had to turn away well-wishers who wanted to watch the match with them in view of the pandemic situation. But they couldn’t any longer as people kept coming and were received with fireworks and sweets. The crackers stocked ahead of the semifinal match came in handy.

Elsewhere, S. Jayakumar, who forced Sreejesh’s switch from the athletic track to the hockey turf during his formative years at GV Raja Sports School in Thiruvananthapuram could hardly express his joy in words.

“He is aggressive on the pitch not willing to concede a quarter. The match today was effectively Sreejesh vs Germany after a point and he prevailed,” Mr. Jayakumar said.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 7:18:43 AM |

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