KAVIN Kartik (pic right) is the last Mohican standing, as he battled all odds to to be selected for the Junior Asia Cup, and is now looking forward to his second Junior World Cup appear ance.
The 20-year-old from Tampin, Negri Sembilan, played in the 2009 Junior World Cup but after that, weight problems weighed him down almost into the abyss.
But he shed eight kilos just months before the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca, and was aptly named as the Best Player of the Final.
That is not all, he also sacrificed one semester of his matriculation to make the hockey grade.
“I had to make many sacrifices and also work harder than the rest because I was overweight, but looking back now, it has been more than rewarding,” said Kartik after receiving RM12,500 from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation on Thursday.
And the only non-Malay in the juniors outfit is ready to skip another semester next year, as he badly wants to help Malaysia make an impact in New Delhi November next year.
“I would do it again (skip studies) as training is a full-time job, and I have the support of my parents to play first and study later,” said Kartik.
He was first spotted when as a 16-year-old in 2008, he scored a penalty corner brace to beat Kuala Lumpur 2-0 in the Razak Cup semi-finals after former skipper S. Kuhan failed in numerous attempts for Negri Sembilan.
K. Rajan, who was coaching the national juniors then, spotted his talent and drafted him into training.
“It was a dream come true to be selected for the 2009 Junior World Cup, and now that I have a second chance, I want to help Malaysia achieve their best finish ever,” said Kartik.
Malaysia will not have penalty corner flickers Faizal Saari and Noor Faeez Ibrahim for the World Cup because both will be overage for the Under-21 tournament by then.
“It will be a big loss as both the flickers played a major role in winning gold in Malacca, but I am ready to fit into their shoes if the coach wants me to,” said Kartik whose weight problem was one of the reasons why he lost his penalty corner touch.
And what is he going to do with the RM12,500?
“I will keep it for my education,” said Kartik whose father Govindasamy and family members came in force to see him receive the reward at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur.