‘Dhanraj Pillay’ at Pillai’s Alegria 2018
– Shubham Khairnar
Although hockey is our national sport, being a hockey player has never been easy in this country which has cricket running through its veins. Even after the hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand making hockey recognized as the national sport of our country, people never acknowledged it as much as this national sport deserves. The achievements of the hockey players have never been recognized as much as those of cricket. Yet, hockey has never lost its aura in this country, credits to the players who keep the spark of this beautiful sport alive. One such sportsperson, who even after stopped playing, never gave up his love for hockey is Dhanraj Pillay.
Born on 16th July, 1968, Dhanraj’s hockey career spanned from December 1989 to August 2004. Playing a total of 339 international matches, this hockey legend has scored a total of 170 goals for the country. He is the only player to have played four Olympics, four world cups, four champions Trophies and four Asian games. He has successfully lead the Indian hockey team to victory in the Asian games (1998) and Asia cup (2003). He was also the top scorer in the Bangkok Asian Games and only Indian player to be in the world Eleven side during the 1994 World cup at Sydney.
Dhanraj has also played for many foreign clubs like the Indian Gymkhana(London), HC Lyon (France), BSN HC and Telekom Malaysia HC (Malaysia), Abahani Limited, HTC Stuttgart Kickers (Germany) and Khalsa Sports Club (Hong Kong). Towards the end of his career, Dhanraj played in the Premier Hockey League for the Maratha warriors for two seasons.
Dhanraj has been awarded with all the sporting honors that an Indian sportsperson can be awarded with. In 1999 he was awarded with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. He was also felicitated with the Padma Shri award in 2001.Pillay is currently involved in trying to start a hockey academy at Mumbai.
As a sports legend, Dhanraj understands that there are no shortcuts to achieving greatness. To appreciate the hard work and success of the fellow MES sport stars, he will be coming to Alegria 2018- The festival of joy on the 8th of February.
Join us, as we see this hockey legend inspire everyone with his fulfilling life experiences and give advices to the sports stars that they will remember for the rest of their lives.