This is an inspiring story from Odisha’s Kadobahal village, which is home to Indian men’s hockey defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess, who is set to make his debut in the FIH World Cup 2023, deserting from the clutches of a poverty-stricken world.
Nilam Sanjeep Xess is an Indian field hockey player who made his international debut for the national senior team at the 2016 South Asian Games. In 2016, he led the Indian team as a captain at the Boys Under-18 Asia Cup.
An outstanding record holder in hockey, Nilam’s story is a tale of grit, hard work, and determination. He grew up in a household where electricity was a luxury that reached his home only five years ago.
Expressing satisfaction over his son’s achievements, Nilam’s father, Bipin Xess, said that as parents they feel very proud that their son is representing the country. “During his childhood days, Nilam practised hockey with his elder brother and friends using bamboo sticks and balls made from torn clothes,” he added.
Bipin complained about the lack of government support for his family and stated that his son and the entire family still have to live in a kutcha house. “We will be grateful if the government provides us with a pucca house under any scheme,” he said.
Xess’s journey began in a dusty field in Kadobahal, a village on the outskirts of Rourkela, when he was just seven years old.
Reminiscing his initial days, he said, “I played with my brother during school breaks. After coming home, I would help my parents at the farm, and in the evening, people in the village would meet for a game of hockey. I used to join them.”
Xess is currently focused on achieving his goals, including the upcoming 16-team World Hockey Cup, which will be held from January 13 to 29. Among the thousands who witness the glory of the national sport, Xess’s parents will be among them, cheering for their son, who is an epitome of inspiration for many.