From shanty to stardom
By Nathaniel Nelson
Here at Ritual we are excited to welcome aboard Indian International player Yuvraj Walmiki! Yuvi is the latest elite athlete to join Ritual and we are especially proud to be working with such a passionate and driven individual.
Yuvi spent his childhood living in a shanty in Mumbai without electricity or running water. Yuvi and his brothers studied under candle-light and when not helping their parents get by spent all their spare time playing hockey in the streets of Mumbai. It has been an arduous journey but the humble Yuvi is well aware of his roots and the challenges faced by people every day just to survive.
"Everyone has problems. But it is how you handle them that is important. I have never let these affect me when I stepped on the hockey ground. Many people have helped me at various stages".
He is grateful for his friend Boon D'Souza for introducing him to hockey and giving him his first hockey gear. Marzban Patel or 'Bawa' coached and mentored him in his early days and through him Yuvi got his first break with the Bombay Republicans. Former India skipper Dhanraj Pillay discovered his potential and assisted in getting him a contract with Air India in 2007.
Yuvi's breakout moment occurred in the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy where he scored the winning goal in the final against Pakistan. "It was a crucial match and I could not sleep the day before. To play in an India-Pakistan hockey match was a dream come true. I told the coach that I wanted to take the strike. He trusted me and gave me the chance."
Since then Yuvi has established a promising international career. He has been playing for German League club TG Frankenthal since 2010, emerging as their top scorer during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. In the 2013 Hockey India League, Walmiki was bought by the Delhi Waveriders franchise for $18,500 USD.
Keep an eye out for this rising star of Indian Hockey.