Inspired by dad
Dineshraj wants to don the national jersey, like his father
The defeat stung badly.
Dineshraj Naidu and his St Andrew's Secondary School team had been beaten 1-0 by defending champions Raffles Institution in the National B Division Boys' hockey final.
Minutes before the final whistle, his team had spurned a glorious chance to equalise via a penalty flick.
With it, his hopes of a fairy-tale ending to his B Division days were dashed at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in April.
But the disappointment did not stop the 17-year-old (above) from walking over to his victorious opponents and offering his congratulations.
Dineshraj's gentlemanly act did not go unnoticed - he received the Sportsmanship Award from the Singapore Schools Sports Council afterwards.
"I didn't expect it," said the St Andrew's captain. "I feel really proud and thankful to those who helped to cultivate the right attitude."
It was a deserved accolade, as his teacher-in-charge, Timothy Lim said: "He is an excellent role model. He commands respect from his teammates."
Dineshraj, he added, was instrumental in helping the team make it to the final, against the odds.
The team had encountered a slew of disciplinary problems during their preparations, with a player even coming close to being dismissed from the team.
As captain, Dineshraj played an important role in restoring order in the side. But he credited their unexpected run to the bond the team shared.
The teenager said: "I have good chemistry with the team. I talk to them and we decide on punishments together, for the good of all."
Hockey runs in Dineshraj's blood.
His father Krishnan Vijayan, 50, was a former national player. A path which he hopes to follow.
"He is my role model. I hope to match up to his standard or do even better, but there's still a long way to go," Dineshraj said.
Father and son play for Vijayanti, a third-tier club in the National Hockey League.
Standing at 1.57 metres, the right-sided midfielder relishes the chance to play against bigger and more experienced players in their 30s and 40s. Hockey, though, has to take a backseat for now as he is preparing for his O levels.
"It is difficult to balance sports and my studies," Dineshraj said.
"I've overheard my father saying that he is glad to have a son following in his footsteps. But he also wants me to excel in my studies. I will have more opportunities ahead."