PR Sreejesh captivated hockey fans at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. He pulled off vital saves to help the Indian men’s hockey team win a bronze medal.
The goalkeeper was on cue at all times dishing out gravity-defying reflexes to keep the attack at bay. It was only fitting that India’s campaign ended with a last-second save from Sreejesh.
The dream of winning a hockey medal at the Olympics was always one of Sreejesh’s goals. He was a part of the 2012 London Olympics, where the team finished 12th. He also led the team in the 2016 edition at Rio de Janeiro where India finished eighth. His third Olympics proved lucky as he came up with a spirited performance to help India win an Olympic medal after a 41-year drought.
Sreejesh, in an interaction with Hockey India, said the Indian team’s never-say-die attitude was a game changer. He explained:
“Winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics will always be the most special moment in my career. The Olympics is the biggest tournament for any sportsperson and all of us dream of winning an Olympic medal. The team fought hard throughout the tournament and we never gave up. Even when we were trailing 1-3 against Germany in the bronze medal play-off match, we didn’t give up and that shows the character of this side.”
We are not done yet, says Sreejesh
While a medal at the Tokyo Olympics was one of the targets the team had set, Sreejesh said it was time to move on from the glory and scale further heights. He said:
“We are not done yet. Yes, winning an Olympic medal is a huge achievement for us, however, we have the potential to do even better in the future. We will continue to work hard in the coming months to ensure that we are evolving and growing as a team. We will set fresh goals for ourselves and try our level best to achieve all our targets.”
It was for his exploits on the turf that Sreejesh was nominated for the FIH Best Goalkeeper Award. The custodian was elated to find a place among the best in business. During the Tokyo Olympics he even got the moniker “Great Wall of India” for his excellent saves at the goalpost. On the nomination for the award, he said:
“It feels amazing when your efforts and hard work is recognized. It’s a huge honor for me to be nominated for the award. This nomination is not only for my own performance, but the team’s performance as a whole in the last year. We have played some excellent hockey and I would like to thank my teammates for their support throughout my career.”