PR Sreejesh inspires entire team: Ex-hockey coach Mir Ranjan Negi hails India goalkeeper after Olympic bronze

PR Sreejesh inspires entire team: Ex-hockey coach Mir Ranjan Negi hails India goalkeeper after Olympic bronze


PR Sreejesh stood like a wall between the Germans and the Indian goalpost during their Tokyo 2020 bronze medal match and made a number of crucial saves to help his team win 5-4 on Thursday.

Hockey fans have nicknamed PR Sreejesh the ‘New Wall of India’ thanks to his heroic saves throughout the Tokyo Olympics (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • PR Sreejesh was instrumental in India’s bronze-medal winning campaign at Tokyo 2020
  • Germany could convert only 1 of their 13 penalty corners thanks to Sreejesh in the bronze medal match
  • India’s defence was bailed out by Sreejesh on most occasions throughout their Olympic campaign

Former India women’s hockey team assistant coach Mir Ranjan Negi paid a glorious tribute to men’s team veteran PR Sreejesh by calling him the best goalkeeper in the sport over the last two decades.

PR Sreejesh stood like a wall between the Germans and the Indian goalpost during their Tokyo 2020 bronze medal match and made a number of crucial saves to help his team win 5-4 on Thursday.

Germany had a whopping 13 penalty corners but with Sreejesh guarding the post, they managed to convert only one of them. India’s defence was bailed out by Sreejesh on most occasions throughout their campaign at the Tokyo Olympics and the senior man was there in their biggest match of the campaign, as well.

TOKYO 2020: FULL COVERAGE

The win ended a 41-year wait for the Indian men’s team to win a medal at the Olympics. The most successful hockey nation in Olympic history with eight men’s titles, India’s last medal came at the 1980 Moscow Games when they topped the podium.

“I think in the last 2 decades there has not been a better goalkeeper than Sreejesh. He not only plays well but he also inspires the entire team. I have never seen a goalkeeper who is so jovial and charged up in the game.

“Amazing save. Sreejesh the entire country is proud of you,” Mir Ranjan Negi, who was the Indian men’s team goalkeeper during his national career, told India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai when asked to comment about the 33-year-old.

Hockey fans have started to call Sreejesh the ‘New Wall of India’ thanks to his heroic saves throughout the tournament, particularly in the final match in which he stopped the decisive penalty corner with less than 20 seconds to the final hooter.

After the match Sreejesh climbed on top of the goalpost at the Oi Hockey Stadium North Pitch in Tokyo as his teammates were celebrating the monumental win. He later revealed to India Today that he climbed on top of the post to celebrate the victory with his goalpost, which he said deserved the respect.

“That’s my place. That’s where I spent my entire life. I think I just wanted to showcase that I am the owner of this post now and I just celebrated because the frustration, the sorrows, me and my post share it together. The post also deserves some respect,” Sreejesh said on Thursday.

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