Olympian hockey player Dr Vece Paes received the ‘Unsung Hero’ award at the Sportstar East Sports Conclave 2023 in Kolkata on Monday.
Apart from being an Olympian, Dr Paes has worn many hats with ease. He is a doctor, father and mentor to Indian tennis legend Leander Paes, and a medical consultant with a number of sports bodies — including the BCCI and the Indian Davis Cup team.
Talking about budding athletes, Paes said, “Talent is an overrated thing. It is not enough to be born with talent, it should be nurtured... if you do your 10,000 hours from the age of 12, you will hit your peak in your 20s. You have to work hard.”
“Dreams start with the first step and the last step happens with the first step,” he added.
Speaking about the occasion, Leander said: “This is a very important point in my life. To stand on this dais right now with not just some of the great writers and editors, but four of the nicest human beings that I have met, for me this what life is about. Sharing this moment with baba, uncle Gurbux (Gurbux Singh) and Sourav (Ganguly) Da, is something I will never forget.”
Born in April, 1945 in Goa, Dr Paes studied medicine in Kolkata and was a midfielder in the Indian hockey team. He was part of the bronze-medal winning 1972 Munich Olympics team.
He also played divisional cricket, football and rugby and went on to head the Indian Rugby Football Union between 1996 and 2002. While he entered sports administration, his expertise in sports medicine saw him hold various important posts.
His exemplary work at the Asian Cricket Council and at the BCCI - managing anti-doping education programmes - is regarded highly by the sporting fraternity.
The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care - a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, Indian Oil, Shiv-Naresh, Rau’s IAS Study Circle, Pinnacle Infotech, Maithan Alloys Ltd, Merlin Group, SRMB, Techno India Group’s Sister Nivedita University, Indian Bank and Meghbela Broadband.
Readers can follow the event live on the Sportstar website sportstar.thehindu.com.