HOCKEY: Happy Kumar

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AT age 34, goalkeeper S. Kumar  will finally realise his childhood dream of playing in the World Cup.

His saves against Japan in the World League semi-finals penalty shoot-out took Malaysia to the World Cup after a hiatus of 12 years, and the Tampin-born lad is game to give his best again.

“After years of training and playing in numerous international tournaments, I will finally be at the World Cup. Of course, I will give my best to make sure Malaysia make an impact,” said Kumar.

The team leave for the Netherlands today.


Kumar started with a gold medal in the 1999 Brunei Sea Games, and went on to represent Malaysia in the Asian and Commonwealth Games. His best moment was helping Malaysia win silver in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, as well as bronze at the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

He was also between the posts when Malaysia won bronze in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.


“I put in many hours of training for the World Cup after we qualified, and feel that I am in top form now. I know it will be tough as our opponents are all world class and ranked above us, but I not worried as I have the experience of playing against them before.”

Malaysia, ranked 12th, are pitted against World No 1 Australia in the curtain raiser of the World Cup. For the record, Malaysia were beaten 8-3 by the Aussies in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup.

“I took a break from the Azlan Shah Cup this year, but suffice to say, it would be much harder for Australia to score against us in the World Cup,” said Kumar.

The squad are leaving early to acclimatise and might play hosts Netherlands in a warm-up as well as with some club sides before the crunch.

Malaysia finished eighth among 16 teams in the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup.


National goalkeeper S. Kumar (right) with teammate Roslan Jamaluddin during a training session at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

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