New Delhi, Dec 26: Dipsan Tirkey was the only player from Odisha to grace the chair in the felicitation of Junior World Cup winning Indian Hockey team in Kolkata on Sunday (Dec 25) evening.
It's not that Odisha hasn't produced hockey players of international standards. Legends like Dilip Tirkey, Birendra Lakhra Ignase Tirkey have already represented Indian senior team for several years.
But Dipsan Tirkey looks exceptional from his predecessors. Dipsan is the only defender in field hockey from Odisha to have been a member of the Indian squad that whipped Belgium to achieve the title in the recently concluded junior World Cup in Lucknow.
In another interesting fact, the 18-year-old was the youngest member in the Hockey India League, last year, when he played for Kalinga Lancers. The defender, who is likely to get a job in Bharat Petroleum Corporation in the near future, did not have a smooth journey in his early days when he started moving around with the hockey stick at the age of seven.
Dipsan, humbly told on Sunday (Dec 25), “My father is small farmer. He used to plough on other’s land. We were a couple of members in the family. Father had to toil a lot to fulfill our needs.
In addition, it was not possible for him to spend money for my hockey. I had borrowed second hand, rejected hockey stick and played with my village boys on the road. I was so passionate about the game that I played for hours even after going to the field to assist my father in his farming job since early morning.”
He added,"Sometimes I used to get sick due to hard work throughout the day. I did not get adequate food. Almost in an empty stomach after returning with father from agricultural field, I started playing hockey. But I thank my friends for accompanying me to play."
Dipsan got a systematic training in hockey at Bhubneswar Sports Hostel, run by the state sports ministry.
Dipsan said, “I have learnt a lot from Sports Hostel and I am thankful to the teachers there for their relentless effort to guide us.”