By Jugjet Singh
WHEN A tragedy befalls the only option is to be strong and march ahead, and support from family and friends is vital at this stage.
Nobody should face a tragedy which has befallen our No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar. Its never easy to lose a loved one, but a three-year old son would surely break even the strongest of hearts.
When Kumar's father died in 2010, he was keeping goal at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, and when his first son was born, he was at the Asian Games battling for Malaysia.
And now when he arrived in Belgium, he had to rush back to the funeral of Haarsheen, who is only three years old.
Nobody deserves such pain, and surely not a gentleman like Kumar.
We come from the same village, Tampin in Negri Sembilan, and he lives opposite my house. He is family, and so this tragedy has affected me as well.
Growing up, Kumar never had a bad bone in him, and was a role model in school as well as sports where he was identified by the late Tengku Besar Secondary School teacher S. Sivapathasundram to don pads between the goalmouth.
His resilience saw him become the No 1 not only in Malaysia but was also awarded the No 1 goalkeeper in Asia.
He took Malaysia to the Netherlands World Cup when it came to penalty shoot-out against Japan in the Johor Baru World League Semifinals. And he again took Malaysia to the World League Semifinals in Belgium when it came to another penalty shoot-out in the World League Round Two in Singapore in January.
He held gallantly in the last four shoot-out, and Malaysia beat Japan and entered the final and went on to beat Poland 8-0 for their first International Hockey Federation (FIH) tournament gold.
For a man who has done so much for the country and his family, the tragedies that has hit him are really unjust, to put it mildly.
Before heading for Belgium, Kumar told me that he really wants to play in the Olympics, as it is the only tournament that has eluded him over the years.
Well Kumar, rest assured your team-mates will give their best in the World League Semi-finals in Belgium, and hopefully realise your dream.
As of now, your family needs you more than your country, and so be strong my friend. On behalf of all hockey lovers in Malaysia, our deepest condolences Kumar.