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'Dabang' Tushar happy at his hockey (1/15/2011)
--Shashank Gupta
Dabang (Fearless) is byword for contemporary hockey star Tushar Khandker.

Tushar threatened his father that he would leave the home if not allowed to pursue hockey. With that, he landed in the lawns of Sports Hostel, Benaras, which would change his life forever. Then, showing confidence when happened to play alongside, and against, the established stars the youngster show-cased his inherent glimpses of 'dabang'ness veritably.

undefined Tushar has done everything to qualify for acclaim the ‘Dabang’, a trait that makes him what he is today – a fixture in the national team.

Back in 1996 at the tender age of eleven, Tushar gave a glimpse of his hockey talent when he was selected to the Benaras Sports Hostel. However, his luck, compounded by family resistance, had it that he could reach the Sports Hostel only two years later. As a sacrifice, he had to resort to private studying, thereafter. In 2002, one fine day, at the airport, Tushar saw his mentor – Dhanraj Pillay. Tushar couldn’t believe his eyes, as the man he had seen on television and whose newspapers clippings were his proud possession for years, stood a few feet away from him, in flesh and blood. A quick hi, hello is what Tushar could do.

What happened five days later is vividly fresh in Tushar’s mind, even after hockey has taken him across the globe. He saw the names players called for the national camp to be held in Bangalore. Amongst the Forwards were, “Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur…Dhanraj Pillay, TUSHAR KHANDKER.”

Reading his name next to Dhanraj’s is an unforgettable moment for him. Entry to the Sub-Junior National team followed by winning the Sub-Junior Asia Cup and a place in the much sort-after Air India Academy are just the intermediate milestones in his illustrious career.

By the time Tushar wore the national colors in 2003, he had enrolled for a Bachelors in Arts. The faith and encouragement from the family had cemented by then. However, this was conditional; Tushar had to show results in hockey.

Tushar did live up to the aspirations of his family and the traditions of a family that has produced many Hockey players – father Late Vinod Khankar, uncle Subodh and his elder brother Vinmra, all of them, have held the stick at different levels. undefined

And when one enquires about the mystery behind Khandekar, Khandkar and Khandker, Tushar has a wide smile and a long story to tell. For the family it is Khandkar, whereas for him, courtesy High School mark sheet, he became Khandker. With a huge laugh Tushar says it loud, “My next generations will have to keep it Khandker, thereby avoiding all confusions.”

Tushar loves children and maintains a special connection with them. Whether it little coaching back home or his humanitarian mindset, for which he remains humble and thankful to God, Tushar wants to teach children contemporary, modern and futuristic hockey. Although Tushar is a huge fan of Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan but Salman Khan’s efforts with the needy, makes Tushar think of him as an outstanding human being.

Talking about the World Cup, CWG and Asian Games, Tushar says winning a silver medal in CWG is something very special. One tends to agree with him when he argues that India has won medals in Asian Games before but CWG Silver was the first one. Tushar says the previous coach, Jose Brasa, brought about a number of small changes in player’s style of playing and their mindset. These changes are individually miniscule but the summation of it summarizes the overall transformation of Indian Hockey.

An avid talker, Tushar feels focus is very important for a player. One should always perform their duties and leave the rest with their respective jobs. The same he tells when you ask him about the Federation tussle at the national level, “My work is to play on the ground and I will keep doing that. If anyone wishes to talk to me about my game, I have my all ears.” But where do you find Tushar when you want to talk to him, “Theatres or shopping malls,” is his immediate answer. A “seedha- saadha shareef insaan”, as Tushar describes himself in one line, is a non-smoker, non-alcoholic but a shopaholic. Certain people claim that they drink at 2 times in their lives – when they are happy and when they are sad. On either of such occasions, Tushar does shopping.

The most dependable player of the forward line and mid-field, Tushar, will be marrying his fiancée Nidhi this year. Pursuing M. Tech. from Bhopal, it took Nidhi a while to digest that national duty will forever remain first priority for Tushar. However, she remains a close confidant for Tushar alongside his mother and late father. undefined

Not much into the hush-hush about winning awards, Tushar always cherishes scoring goals against Pakistan. Say whatever you may but the games against Pakistan has something different in them, Tushar reflects.

Does the public’s outcry bother him – on and off the field? Tushar curtly replies with a mild anger, “It’s the national team, and not someone’s or my team. When stakes run high, emotions are bound to flow as people don’t watch a match to see their team lose. Maintaining composure is the true sign of a national player.”

But life remains tuft for a hockey player, otherwise. It took him 6 years to become the graduate. Bundelkhand university finally showed some mercy on Tushar when they scheduled the examination, with prior understanding with Tushar, within a month after the Hero Honda World Cup ’10. With 15 days of preparation, Tushar is a proud graduate.

A fluent in Hindi, English, Marathi and Punjabi, Tushar, at times, contemplates why our nation remains obsessed with Cricket? Can’t our countrymen give just their one and half hours to hockey? But then, the same focused and Dabang Tushar exclaims, “I will keep playing my game, whatever be the circumstances. No off-the-turf development can affect my game, in any sense.”

Note: Copying the article in other websites, blogs etc on the same day of publication is forbidden

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Tushar the '' DABANG"
by Ajay Kumar Bansal on 1/17/2011 10:35:35 AM
This is only for the knowladge of the readers that " Tushar is the only Hockey player in India who played in all the four category of Asia Cup i.e. U-16,U-18,U-21,Seniors, and won Gold in all the 4 Categories.Good Luck
by Amitesh Srivastava on 1/16/2011 11:10:23 PM
A good One..In Last Pics we all their its from CWG Games..