The Indian Men’s Hockey have toiled long and hard in the last few months in their preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. Therefore India defender Amit Rohidas is all geared up to perform on the big stage. It will be his first Olympics and his experience of representing India in 97 matches will come in handy. The 28-year-old has tried to feature in the Olympics for the last 12 years but his dream got fulfilled this year.
“It has taken me 12 years to reach here. I am extremely delighted to be part of the Olympic squad, one of my biggest dreams has been fulfilled now. I am thankful to every Coach who helped me to groom as a Hockey player. My sole focus is to have a successful campaign at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and the recent successful tours have definitely been a boost for the Team’s confidence,” said Amit Rohidas.
The Indian defender hails from the same village of Sundargarh as former India captain and defender Dilip Tirkey. Rohidas expressed how Tirkey was his idol while growing up and he has taken a lot of inspiration from the former skipper.
“He (Dilip Tirkey) has inspired many from my village to look at Hockey as an engine of change. From where I belong, Hockey is not only a sporting discipline but a vehicle for socio-economic growth. I have become the first non-tribal Hockey Olympian from the state of Odisha.”
It at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia back in 2013 when the defender was handed his India debut. He was also a part of the India team which clinched the silver medal at the 2013 Asian Cup Later Rohidas was made vice captain of the junior national team for the 2013 FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup.
“I started playing in my village, and later I joined the Panposh Sports Hostel in Rourkela to hone my hockey skills. I played there as a Forward initially but my Coach advised me to switch to a Defender position. My first big break came in 2009, when I was selected for the U-18 Asia Cup, and bagged the Best Player of the Tournament award for my seven goals. Then, I featured in the Silver medal-winning Indian Team of Sultan of Johor Cup in 2013. I was then finally promoted to the Senior Team. Soon after, I was named as Manpreet Singh’s deputy for the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup held in Delhi, where we couldn’t do well, and I felt like everything was over for me,” Rohidas elaborated his journey to the top.
It was only in the 2017 Hockey India League when Rohidas impressed everyone with his defending skills and finally cemented his place in the Indian senior side. four years down the line, the experienced Indian defender will be hoping to make a big mark in Tokyo.