BHOPAL: When Armaan first wielded the stick, he was just 13. Born to Rehman Qureshi, who is a butcher, Armaan’s realised the dream of his uncle Hasrat Qureshi, who played for India in several international hockey matches.
He plays forward for the Indian Junior Hockey Team which was crowned world champion after a 15-year gap. Beating Belgium with 2-1, the Indian team made history.
Armaan played cricket till the age of 12 and hardly had any interest in hockey. Uncle Hasrat wanted him to play for India. “Since school, he was good in sports. I played hockey, one of my brothers also played hockey. And I wanted him to play hockey, so I started taking him for hockey practice in the stadium near our house. Slowly, he started taking interest and by 2008 he got well versed in hockey.”
Hasrat gives the credit for polishing Armaan to coach Ashok Dhyan Chand, son of hockey legend Major Dhyanchand. Ashok Dhyanchand heads the Bhopal-based Madhya Pradesh boy’s academy of hockey and was the one who selected Armaan for training. “When we took him for trial in 2008, Ashok ji, said that this boy should be in the team. We sent Armaan to Bhopal for training and today he is the pride of the family”, said Qureshi.
Talking about the game he said, “The scenario has changed today. When India won the Junior World Cup, I saw people celebrating. When I was playing for India, hockey was overshadowed by cricket. We were not very well off but my brother and Armaan’s father made sure that Armaan does not have to face any financial crunch.