A young hockey enthusiast, holding the flag of India with the resolution to make his country proud in front of thousands of spectators in Karachi, was truly living his dream.
Vickram Kanth, born on 11 April 1987 in Coorg, Karnataka, is a former Indian field hockey player. Ever since Kanth was a kid, he felt inclined towards hockey, and his passion for the game grew with time. “I was born in Coorg, so over there kids naturally take up hockey as their first sport, instead of cricket as the rest of the country. My father was a hockey player himself, and as I saw him play growing up, I fell in love with the game,” he recollects while talking about his passion for the sport.
Kanth made a debut with the 2004 Junior Asia Cup, where the team displayed an overwhelming performance and backed a gold medal for the country. “My first match that I played in Karachi was the most memorable one for me. I’ve won many more matches, but because of the hype around India vs Pakistan, winning a tournament against them in their homeland made it very special,” he comments, looking back at his career. In the following year, he made his way to the 2005 Junior World Cup team.
Kanth made it big with his senior debut in the 2006 South Asian Games, winding up with a silver medal; post this, he caught national attention for his splendid game. In the following years, he represented India as a defender, starting from Asia Cup 2007, where the team held the Nation’s head high by bringing home a gold medal. Kanth has also been a part of the Sultan Azlan Cup in 2007 and 2008, backing bronze, and silver medals respectively.
In 2014, he headed the Indian team during the Bangladesh test series, and under his captaincy, India defeated Bangladesh in the three-match test series by a margin of 3-0.
Kanth’s International career came to a standstill after the tussle between Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI). “I always had the frustration of not being part of the National camp. After the Chile disaster, the players were divided between IHF and HI, and there was a restriction on players participating in the World Series Hockey (WSH),” Kanth comments in an interview.
However, Kanth never gave up on the game entirely and continued his career in the Hero Hockey India League, wherein he has been a part of The Delhi Waveriders and represented the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd in domestic championships. Along with actively participating in domestic games, he often doubles up as a coach for young athletes.
“As an Ex-SAI trainee, whenever I find an opportunity to guide young players I do it. I enjoy playing mentor, correcting young players and teach them the right technique we learned in due course of our international career,” he further remarks, “the intention is to ensure these youngsters don’t repeat the same mistakes we did which was corrected only when we moved into the national program.”
It wasn’t until the introduction of Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway that Kanth was determined about his career as a coach. “Coaching was always on my mind, even after my international career ended, I enjoyed spending time with young players. But when Hockey India launched the program, I felt it was something I wanted to do. As the name (Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway) suggests, it provided me with a pathway to getting involved in the coaching setup, go through the right process, and understand the nuances of Coaching. It was new to me, and I enjoyed it,” he reveals to the media.
Vickram Kanth is also a member of The Sports School’s advisory board. The Sports School works towards educating young minds to prepare athletes of the future, who are ready to tackle the pressure of national and international matches. With his exceptional mentoring skills and extensive first-hand experience of the industry, Kanth imparts his knowledge to sports enthusiasts, ensuring that they don’t commit the same mistake as him and his counterparts.
“A lot of people drop out of sports because they lack the facilities and lose the balance between sports and education. I’ve met many parents who get confused between sports and academics, and don’t really know what is good for their kids. So, with an institution like The Sports School in their city, parents can freely enroll their kids, and this will help many budding sportspeople. As a sports person myself, I think it is my responsibility to take The Sports School to great heights and spread the word so that people use this opportunity and ultimately bring laurels to the country,” Kanth says while talking about The Sports School.