Forward Ajit brings succour to family with HIL money

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Indian junior hockey team forward Ajit Kumar Pandey, who was picked by defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors for the forthcoming Hockey India League (HIL), said on Friday that the showpiece event provided him an opportunity to help his family financially.

For 21-year-old Pandey, whose father works as a driver, playing in the HIL is not just an opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the hockey world but it has also helped him build a house for his family at Karampur, a village in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh.

“Until now we didn’t have a house of our own. I come from a poor family and have five sisters and one brother. I am the youngest of them. Growing up, I have seen my family struggle financially but now with the HIL money, I know I can help my family live a comfortable life,” Pandey said in a statement.

“No one in my family ever expected that I would be able to earn so much money through hockey, but it’s a reality today and everyone at home is very excited for me,” added the India forward who scored a swashbuckling goal against Canada in the pool matches at Junior World Cup in Lucknow.

Pandey is eager to make most of this experience and said he had waited for this opportunity for long.

“I made my debut for the Indian junior team in 2016 and my first India camp was in 2014. I was really hoping to get a chance to play in the HIL and now that I have received that opportunity, I would really like to make the most of it and justify my worth.”

For the Punjab franchise, Ajit will be part of the forward line alongside veteran S.V. Sunil, Jacob Whetton, Nithin Thimmaiah, Satbir Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular and junior India teammate Armaan Qureshi.

“As a forward, I follow Jacob and Sunil bhai a lot. I feel this is the right opportunity for me to learn from them and implement in my own game,” Pandey said.

The HIL starts from January 21.