In the first episode of Kreedon Champ Tales, we had with us the rising star of Indian hockey Devinder Walmiki. Champ Tales is a talk show where we interview athletes live on our Instagram handle every Friday around 9 PM.
Personal & Professional life of Devindar Walmiki
When was the first time you played hockey?
When I was 7, I started playing hockey as my elder brother Yuvraj was already into it. One Day I told him, I want to play so he took me to the hockey stadium.
How well did your brother support you in learning the game?
Not only hockey, he has helped me in every phase of my life. When my brother took me to the stadium, I got afraid as there were more than 400 players and I was youngest among all. I asked my brother how I will manage to play against them. He said “Just believe in yourself”
What was your parents reaction when you told them, that you want to make a career in hockey?
They were not happy initially, as they were not aware of the opportunities in sports. I come from a very poor family; we used to live in slum area near Marine Drive in Mumbai. My family lived 40 years without electricity. I have faced many problems but my family has supported me throughout, there were times when my parents use to hide my hockey stick & force me to study but somehow me & my brother convinced them by showing our hard work in hockey.
When was the first time you played professional hockey?
I used to go to Bombay Republican’s club which is runned by Mezbaan Patel sir also known as Bawa. He has been my coach from my childhood days. I joined him when I was 7 but I never played a match. 4th division tournament was going on and one of the players from the team got injured just before the match. So, Bawa sir called me to fill the place and made me sit on the bench. He gave me opportunity to play in the second half of the match and I scored 3 goals in that match. Everyone was shocked as I was quite young compared to others.
Can you describe the feeling of playing for your country?
In 2009 I made my debut for India U-18 in Asia cup held at Myanmar. When I wore the jersey & stood for the National Anthem, it literally gave me Goosebumps. That was a very proud moment for me.
How does it feel to be mentored by a legend like Dhanraj Pillay?
I used to admire him, when I was young. In 2011 he watched me play in a local match & soon after he invited me to play for Air India alongside him. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. It was like a dream come true to play alongside him. Since then he has been like a mentor to me.
Hockey India League was a turning point of your career, as soon after 2013 HIL you got selected to play for senior National team.
Yes, it was a IPL like format for hockey, it gave chance to all the young & budding talent to showcase their skills in front of whole world. I got attention from there & eventually, it all started from there.
Did you got any filmy motivational speech like “70 minute sirf 70 minute hai tumhare paas”
Yes. In 2016, we were in finals of Champions Trophy against Australia. A night before match our coach said “When you get out to play tomorrow, just keep one thing in mind. You have to win that gold medal.” This was very motivating but unfortunately after playing very good throughout the match, we lost the match in shootout.
Dimaag Ki Dahi round with Devindar Walmiki
Shahrukh Khan or Vasudevan Bhaskaran. Whom would you like to be mentored by?
Favourite Maa ke haath ka khana ( fav food cooked by Mom)?
Selection in Indian team or seat in 6 PM Virar local. Which is tougher?
Obviously Indian team & I would rather not travel if I had to go by Virar local.
Where would you like to watch Salman Khan’s movie Gatey Galaxy or PVR Recliner ?
I would choose PVR recliner
With whom would you like to talk more “Bombay ke Hey Bro vale log ya Aae Bhidu vale log” ?
Being a Mumbaikar I like the Aae Bhidu style.
Other side of Athlete with Devindar Walmiki
If not a Hockey Player, what would you have done?
I come from city of dreams, known for bollywood. I too would have tried my hand in acting.
Who is Your Favorite actor?
Though he is not alive but I have been a huge fan of Rajesh Khanna Sir. I remember a line from an award function “Mujhe der se aane ki aadat nahi hai lekin der ho jaati hai aap toh fans hain aap sab jaanti hai”
What you do when you are not playing hockey?
I love reading books, especially biographies of other athletes from all around the world. I also like playing cricket & various other sports, I generally play cricket with my friends every Sunday.
What would you like to say to the young players who are looking to build a career in sports?
Just one thing don’t go for shortcuts, there are no shortcuts, just work hard and you will achieve what you want.
To watch the full episode live you can follow us on our Instagram Handle @kreedonworld or you can listen to the podcast on our youtube handle @kreedon