Hockey

Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay — Where is he now?

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Weaving past defenders with ease, slick skills and an extremely capable leader, he is also the only Hockey player to have taken part in 4  World Cups, Olympic Finals, Champions Trophies and Asian Games each. Dhanraj Pillay was the frontrunner for the Indian men’s hockey team for over a decade between December 1989 and August 2004 where he made 339 appearances and scored 170 goals.

Dhanraj led India to Gold Medals in the Asian Games and the Asia Cup along with being awarded the prestigious Player of the Tournament award in the Champions Trophy 2002. Pillay took his hockey club career abroad as well with brief stints in Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and England and has also been duly awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Padma Shri award for his contributions to Indian hockey.

Dhanraj Pillay in a match against Netherlands (Source: Outlook)
Dhanraj Pillay in a match against Netherlands (Source: Outlook)

Post his stellar career, he took it upon himself to continue with sport development and hockey through the various government jobs that were offered to him. He even had a brief political stint with the AAP in 2014  which ended quickly. He is currently the Joint Secretary of the Air India Sports Promotion Board and oversees the coaching and playing of the Air India hockey team and several hockey coaching institutes across India.

In 2019, Pillay took over as  the coach of Krida Prabhodhini, a coaching venture initiated by the government of Maharashtra to scout hockey talent across the state. He coached the team of about 47 individuals and even stated that he would love to scout  talented players on his own across the state. Pillay has time and again reiterated his desire to coach the Indian Hockey team and has been very vocal about not hiring foreign coaches.

Given that there more opportunities for Indian hockey players and coaches to try their hands at the game, Dhanraj Pillay hopes to get into full time professional coaching in the coming years.   One hopes to see him achieve his dream of winning an Olympic Medal as the coach of the Indian team given that he has been at the helm of Indian hockey all his life. After all, he is considered as one of the best Hockey players of all time.

Also read: Former captain Ritu Rani led India to Olympics after 36 years but forgotten so early?

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