My family has sacrificed a lot in order to allow me to chase my dreams: Hockey player Karthi Selvam

Bengaluru: Fast-rising Karthi Selvam, one of the star performers for Indian men’s hockey team in the Asian Champions Trophy, feels that he has been able to live up to expectations of his parents, who sacrificed a lot to nourish his dream of weaving magic with the stick.

Karthi was the first from Tamil Nadu to be selected in the senior national men’s hockey team in 13 years when he made his debut in last year’s Asia Cup in Jakarta. In the ACT this year, he scored two goals and had a hand in plenty of assists.

Karthi scored on his debut in the opening match against Pakistan but for the 21-year-old forward, the goal against Malaysia in the group stages of ACT was something he would cherish for his entire life as it came in front of his home and crowd and more importantly his parents.

“One memory that I will always cherish is scoring my first goal of the tournament (ACT) against Malaysia. This was the very first goal that I scored in front of my family who were watching me play for the first time,” an emotional Karthi said.

“As I scored, I turned around to look at my parents and the smiles they had on their faces made it all worthwhile. At that moment, all the years of hard work that I put on the turf, all the sacrifices my family made to ensure I followed my dream, all the financial struggles we faced, it all came good.

“I hold this moment close to my heart,” he added.

Karthi last played at Chennai’s Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium as a schoolboy in 2016 and he described the moment he stepped onto the pitch in front of so many people as “special”.

“I was ecstatic when it was announced that the Asian Champions Trophy would be held at my home ground, Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai,” he said.

“To have this opportunity to go back to the stadium where it all started for me and put on a show for the fans had me sleepless at night.

“It felt incredible to walk onto the pitch each time, with hockey-hungry fans cheering for us. I am really grateful that people from all around the state came to watch us play and supported me and the team throughout.”

Karthi now has his set his eyes on cementing his place in the senior national team, which has two big tournaments lined up — this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China and next year’s Paris Olympics.

“The title win at the Asian Champions Trophy has given me immense confidence and has made me all the more determined to work hard, and prove my worth to wear the India jersey again,” he said.