Hockey runs in Dhanraj Pillay's blood

Your idea of perfect happiness

When I am on the ground training children.

One big wish

To see the Indian men’s and women’s teams finish on the podium at the Olympic Games and World Championships.

Favourite holiday destination

Pune and Malaysia.

Earliest memory of playing

For Ammunition Factory, Khadki.

Other sports played


If not for sport

Nothing. Hockey runs in my family; it’s in my blood.

Your idols

Ramesh Pillay, my brother, and Mohammed Shahid.

Sports heroes

Mohammed Shahid when I was growing up, and Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane.

A living person you admire the most

Prakash Padukone Sir. The greatest athlete in Indian sport during my childhood.

Most memorable on-field moment

The 1998 Asian Games gold medal. I was India captain, the highest scorer and the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent. I was named in the Asian All Star XI.

Worst on-field moment

Sydney Olympics — the match against Poland. (India, leading 1-0, conceded a goal in the final minute and thus failed to make it to the semifinals.)

Never leave home without


The craziest thing ever done

Once I danced for seven to eight hours after I got into the mood.

One bad habit you need to get rid of