It was a proud moment for Children’s Academy’s (Malad) Yash Pithwa, who was adjudged the outstanding player in the boys’ U-14 category of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association-Mumbai Indians inter-school hockey tournament at the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium yesterday.
However, riding on striker Rohit Gaikwad’s brace, the Malad school defeated St Stanislaus (Bandra) 2-1 in the final to lift their first MSSA crown. Kirsten D Almeida scored the lone goal for Stanislaus.
Yash’s achievement is commendable considering that he and his family were rendered homeless in March this year. A 10 x 10 room at Swaminarayan building in Dhanji Wadi, Malad (East) was demolished and they were forced to move into Yash’s uncle Harshad’s house nearby.
“The incident took place just two days before Holi. Also our final exams were scheduled around that time. During the demolition, I lost my books and our utensils. With great difficulty I managed to clear my Class VI exams. But I motivated myself and kept playing hockey,” he said.
How did the 13-year-old boy do it? “During training, I forget all my problems. Hockey gives me the confidence to face other problems in life. This medal is just the start. I want to be like my idol, Dhanraj Pillay,” Yash said. His coach, Marzban ‘Bawa’ Patel was impressed too. “Yash is naughty, but talented.
He is a very skillful player and deserved the award considering the difficulties he has faced at such a young age. But he shouldn’t rest on his laurels. He needs to work hard and perform even better,” said Patel.
Father Pradeep was overwhelmed. “I’m confident that with his coach’s guidance, he can go a long way. He has braved the current situation and come out a winner. He is my hero,” he said.