First rushers in hockey are all the time flirting with the superb line between bravado and stupidity. However for Victor Wegnez, taking blows is second nature.
At house, he was a ‘punching bag’ for his father. Within the imply streets of Molenbeek – the infamous Brussels suburb – he’d must ‘fight to the death’. And on the hockey area, he isn’t afraid to run straight into the trail of balls hit at a velocity of greater than 100 kmph.
“I am thankful for all those things,” says the Belgium midfielder, one of many stars of their run to the semifinals of the World Cup. “It made me who I am. If I didn’t have my youth, maybe I wouldn’t be talking to you.”
Wegnez sits on a cushioned chair within the comfy environment of a luxurious resort a mile away from the Kalinga Stadium, recalling a childhood when he was ‘dealing with shit.’ The 27-year-old describes Molenbeek, the place he was born and grew up, as an space that was ‘not really nice’. “It was made of violence and stuff,” he provides.
Victor Wegnez, who scored the all-important purpose for @BELRedLions to attract the match towards Germany, talks to us concerning the sport and their preparations forward.#HWC2023 pic.twitter.com/ltD1dq1hQB
— Worldwide Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) January 17, 2023
As per a Guardian report, Molenbeek was dubbed as Belgium’s terror hub, after these liable for assaults in Paris, at Brussels airport and the town’s metro station – all in 2016 – had been from the neighbourhood. Near 50 individuals then went on to hitch ISIS in Syria, the report added. “You had to fight to show them that they wouldn’t steal something from you and to fight to the death,” he instructed The Hockey Paper in an interview final yr. “I was fighting every week after school.”
When he seems again in any respect these years now, greater than the neighbourhood, it’s the environment at house that left a deeper impression on him. Wegnez says he was crushed up by his father, with whom he shares an estranged relationship now. “My dad used to be really aggressive. He didn’t help. I told him I don’t get it; I don’t understand why you were like this. There is no excuse for what he did.”
Wegnez was not even 10 when he joined a hockey membership – considerably aptly named Royal Daring – and when he was 11, he left his house. The hockey area grew to become his secure haven.
“Being at home, I was dealing with shit because you were entering a space you didn’t want to be in. When I was at hockey, I was away from family and really doing something I loved – I could see my friends, scream, run, hit the ball and do things I couldn’t do at home,” he says. “If I did something out of what my father wanted (at home), it was a little bit of a problem. But hockey changed my life.”
His expertise on the sphere didn’t go unnoticed as Wegnez rose to captain Belgium’s junior workforce, which misplaced to India within the remaining of the 2016 Junior World Cup, and went on to grow to be a pillar of the all-conquering senior facet, the Belgian golden technology that really delivered beneath Shane McLeod, who led them to the Olympic and world titles.
𝐅𝐮𝐥𝐥-𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞: 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐠𝐢𝐮𝐦 𝟐-𝟎 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐙𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝
Belgium defence stifles the Black Sticks within the 2nd half to enter the semi-finals as they try to go back-to-back on the FIH Hockey Males’s World Cups! #HWC2023
— Worldwide Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) January 24, 2023
McLeod says Wegnez is one in every of Belgium’s quickest brief sprinters and brave gamers, the qualities wanted for a primary rusher. “We saw his skill set. He was very fast so that put him in a category of ‘if you are keen to develop this further, we are keen to develop you’,” McLeod says. “It was a combination of him wanting to be helpful and us seeing his skill-set fitted what we needed.”
It matches in completely. At this World Cup, Belgium are but to concede from penalty corners and Wegnez has taken half-a-dozen blows whereas efficiently making an attempt to cease the ball from getting in.
“I never complain (about) the pain and getting hit by the ball. It’s also a job I have to do to be in the team,” he says. “It’s not something that anybody can do but you just need to be brave and accept that the ball is going to hit you and it’s going to be painful. (But) I am pretty proud to take all those balls because it means I am helping the team.”
Australia, Belgium in semis
Tokyo Olympics finalists Australia and Belgium remained on track to fulfill within the World Cup remaining as effectively after each groups gained their respective quarterfinals in a contrasting trend on Tuesday.
Australia survived a large scare after they had been pushed to the restrict by a resilient Spain, who missed a penalty stroke with minutes left to play, handing their rivals a hard-fought 5-4 win. Within the semis, they are going to face the winner of the quarterfinal between England and Germany.
Belgium, however, had been by no means troubled by New Zealand, who defeated India in a crossover match final Sunday. The reigning champions gained the match 2-0 to arrange a conflict with both the Netherlands or South Korea.
Taking part in on Wednesday (Quarterfinals)
4.30 pm: England vs Germany
7 pm: Netherlands vs South Korea
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