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  • Topic: Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Asian Games, Hockey World Cup
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  • Published : February 4, 2013
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Dhanraj Pillay
 
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Dhanraj Pillay has been one of the best all time Hockey players of India and also one of the most popular ones the game has ever produced in the nation. An extremely good forward with sharp attacking attitude, Dhanraj came from a very modest background and by dint of his sheer talent and charismatic skills rose to become one of the most prominent Hockey players of the nation. 

Early Life
 
He was born on the 16th of July 1968 at Khadki, a small town near Pune, Maharashtra. His father used to serve at the Ordinance Factory and little Dhanraj began playing Hockey along with his friends with the broken Hockey sticks and ragged balls. Dhanraj received his education at Sugra Vilasi Sabha School, Khadki. He used to adore the style of the aggressive dribbler Mohammed Shahid, and try to copy him. Encouraged a lot by his mother, Dhanraj loved the game a lot and tried his hardest to excel in the game although he didn’t belong to a financially sound family. 

Beginning of Hockey career
 
The elder brother of Dhanraj, Ramesh used to play for a Club in Mumbai and introduced him to professional Hockey for the first time. Dhanraj showed his commendable capabilities in the first match itself, and was spotted by the sport veterans and Coaches at Mumbai in the first glance. At the age of 17 years, Dhanraj played in the Junior National Hockey Tournament held at Manipur. He got a chance to play at Sanjay Gandhi Tournament 1987 held at Delhi, and further played his first National Hockey Tournament in 1988 in the same city. Owing to his super fast speed (he is said to cover 100m of distance in just 11.6 seconds), he became famous as “Toofan”(Tornado) in the Hockey fraternity. Joquim Carvalho, the famous Hockey player and Coach noticed the talent of Dhanraj and invited him to join Mahindra & Mahindra team at Mumbai. At Mahindra & Mahindra, Dhanraj got to play with the internationally renowned players like Marcellus Gomes and Mark...
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