Mumbai: Helping those less fortunate than us is the essence of humanity. Two days after Free Press Journal reported the story of a homeless 18-year-old hockey player, Pawan Samantrai, who was selected for Mumbai’s U-19 team to play the Junior Nationals in Bhopal, there have been offers to support the boy.
A skilful mid-fielder, Pawan stays atop a BMC toilet in Matunga. He would pursue his passion for hockey with discarded sticks. Her mother Savithri is a BMC sweeper; his father had succumbed to Covid-19 last year.
For shelter, he’s likely to have support from Don Bosco Oratory in Matunga.
Former national coach Joaquim Carvalho and four-time intervarsity hockey player Ghansham Kashinathrao Dhokrat have volunteered to sponsor his kit.
Former Mumbai footballer Richard Almeida and businessman Rakesh Dalal have also offered to fund his hockey stick and shoes.
“I will support him as long as he plays the game and makes himself and Mumbai proud,” Almeida said.
Dhokrat, a resident of Dombivli, said helping the boy is one way of repaying hockey that had given him so much.
“He is a talented boy and the way he plays the game is a clear indication that he can be one of Mumbai’s top players,” said Lawrence Bing, the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) hockey secretary.
His neighbours are witness to the boy’s early struggles and his unwavering commitment to the game.