Indian hockey midfielder Vivek Prasad on his learnings from Youth Olympics

The 20-year-old Vivek Prasad captained the Indian hockey boys’ side to a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics.

By Rahul Venkat

Midfielder Vivek Prasad has been one of the stand-out performers for the Indian hockey men’s team over the last couple of years.

Prasad’s instincts and energy have made him a natural fit in head coach Graham Reid’s attacking style of play with the Indian hockey team, and the youngster’s quick passing is one of his strengths.

Vivek Prasad credits his experience at the 2018 Youth Olympics for it.

“In that tournament, we decided that we should move forward with short passes. The tactic proved to be successful throughout the Youth Olympics.,” Vivek Prasad told Hockey India

“It was one of my biggest learnings from there and it is something I have applied during my time with the senior side as well.”

Vivek Prasad has become an integral part of the Indian hockey team since his debut in 2018. Photo: Hockey India

Twenty-year-old Prasad, who was awarded the FIH Rising Star of the Year for 2019, was named captain of the Indian hockey team for the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The then 18-year-old scored eight goals in eight games to help India win the silver medal.

It capped off an incredible story for Vivek Prasad, who just three years ago was unsure if he would ever play hockey again. An injury prevented him from playing the 2016 Junior World Cup, which is considered the platform for identifying talent.

However, the Indian hockey midfielder’s impressive performances since returning meant that Prasad was fast-tracked to the senior team. He ended up becoming the second-youngest player to make his debut for the senior Indian hockey team in 2018.

Indian hockey at the Youth Olympics

Though the senior Indian men’s side enjoys a golden legacy at the Olympics, the Indian hockey boys’ team made its Youth Olympics debut in 2018 after missing out on the inaugural 2010 and 2014 editions.

In the new five-a-side concept, which was introduced for field hockey at the 2014 Youth Olympics, the Indian hockey boys’ team registered wins over Bangladesh, Austria, Kenya and Canada.

India’s only group-stage loss came in a close 4-3 defeat against Australia.

The Indian hockey boys’ team then comfortably beat Poland and home team Argentina in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, before falling 4-2 to Malaysia in the summit clash. Vivek Prasad scored both goals for India.

The Indian hockey girls’ team campaign also followed a near-similar path. They beat Austria, Uruguay and Vanuatu but fell to Argentina and South Africa in the group stages.

The Indian hockey girls’ team then beat Poland and China by identical 3-0 scorelines in the knockouts before falling once again to home team Argentina 3-1 in the final to end with the silver medal.