For Speedy Tiger Naaveennash, sports run in his family

KUALA LUMPUR: Utility hockey player T. Naaveennash Panicker is the type who keeps a cool head on the field.

Maybe it's because sports run in his blood.

His father, S. Thevendran, used to play for football clubs, while his mother, Praba Yuvadas, was a sprinter in the inter-bank athletics championships.

His elder brother, Kavinash, played hockey for KL in the 2018 Malaysia Games and for Sabah in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in 2020.

Naaveennash, 18, who scored four goals for TNB Thunderbolts in the recent MHL, was among 46 players called up for national training last month, and for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from May 4-11.

Naaveennash, who can play as a forward and in midfield, said: "It's a new and big challenge for me.

"Training with the national team is totally a different level of hockey than playing in local tournaments.

"I have to train much harder as there are other players who are more experienced and skilled than me."

"I'm not going to waste this opportunity as I was twice called up for national junior training in 2022 and 2023 last year but did not get a chance to represent Malaysia," said the Bukit Jalil Sports School student.

He continued: "I want to make my parents proud by being the first from my family to represent Malaysia.

"I also aspire to be the first Indian to play for the country since goalkeeper S. Kumar retired from the national team in 2020." added Naaveennash, whose idol is former Australian captain Jamie Dwyer

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