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Rasquinha quits international hockey
Deepti Patwardhan | January 15, 2008 13:07 IST
Last Updated: January 15, 2008 15:20 IST
Most of the time, especially in India, sports and logic don't meet. No matter who watches, no matter who cares; youngsters are lured by an impossible dream, few of them survive and realise it, most of them perish into anonymity.
Viren Rasquinha is one of those few, who lived that dream, but now wants to come back to earth.
The Indian midfielder quit hockey for an MBA, announcing his retirement from internationals in his home-town Mumbai on Tuesday, two months shy from the team's Olympic qualifying tournament in Santiago, Chile.
"It was a practical decision," he shrugs.
One of the most articulate players in the hockey team, the transition to an MBA aspirant was cemented as he courted the press meet sans the help of agents or the PR junkies and handed over the crisply worded retirement statement at the end of it.
The 27-year-old from Mumbai said he would be taking a year's break from domestic and club tournaments to pursue an MBA degree at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
"It was an extremely hard decision," Rasquinha told reporters on Monday afternoon. "I have always played for my country with pride and dignity and I wish to retire in the same manner. I would like to quit when I am still at the top of my game."
Rasquinha, who donned the Indian jersey in 180 internationals, said with his academic term at the ISB starting in April, he had to make the decision between studies and a chance to represent India at the Olympics [Images] for a second time.
"I've played for India for eight years in succession now and believe it's time for me to move on."
Rasquinha enjoyed the highs of success, bounced back from injuries, suffered the whims of the Indian Hockey Federation, raised his voice against injustice and has finally decided to sign up for more stability in life.
Thanking his parents, team-mates, fans and all the people associated with Indian hockey, he added that he would like to return to the game later in some capacity.
"I will continue to play domestic tournaments for Indian Oil [Get Quote], who have graciously given me study leave for the time I will be in Hyderabad. International hockey takes a lot of commitment and conditioning; I won't be able to maintain my fitness (while pursuing the degree)
"I would like to give something back to the game, maybe do sports management or marketing or media or all of these."
Hia father, Wilfred, said that he respected Rasquinha's decision and would support him in the new endeavour as he had during the playing days, when neighbours would scoff at the career option, saying, 'Chana khana padega'
"He had to choose between carrying on in hockey or improve his status in life. With the Olympics only eight months away, time had come to make that decision.
"We know it was his dream to play his second Olympics in Beijing [Images], but at the same time we saw how hard he studied for the GMAT exams. He used to sit with his books for 14-16 hours and was determined to get into the ISB.
"He was thinking about it (retiring from the international stage) for the past six months. If you observe, he was not playing at his best in the PHL. His full attention was on studies and getting into this school."
His father recalled that even at school little Viren was able to balance studies and sports well, taking on the responsibility of a hockey, football, athletics captain and yet topping his class with ease.
Diligence will once again be his weapon when he turns the corner into the corporate world.