Benedikt Schwarzhaupt, an sport scholarship student at KLU, won second place in the 2021 Men's Hockey Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India. The 20-year-old was captain of the team.
It was a World Cup of a different kind. For two years the German men's under-21 field hockey team could hardly play a match due to the pandemic. An assessment of their performance in international comparison was thus hardly possible before the tournament. “Maybe that’s all right because then you focus more on your own strengths,” captain and sport scholarship student Benedikt Schwarzhaupt said before the tournament, setting the goal of playing in the Cup final. The Junior World Cup took place under strict hygiene requirements from November 24 to December 5, 2021 in Bhubaneswar in the province of Odisha in East India.
With victories over Pakistan (5:2), Argentina (3:2), and Egypt (11:0) the German team made it through the group stage without losing a point. They moved into the last round of eight teams where they came up against Spain – a match of equals expected to be dramatic on both sides. It was 1:1 for a long time, until two minutes before the end when Spain took the lead with a goal worth seeing. But the German team made a comeback, evening up at the last minute and ultimately winning in a drama of penalty shots. The only bad news: Schwarzhaupt injured his leg. The tournament ended for him as a player on that pitch. Captain of the team, he assumed the role of motivator and supporter from the sidelines despite great disappointment.
The Cup final against Argentina followed a 4:2 win against India’s home team. In the group stage Germany defeated Argentina. In the Cup final the South Americans were one step ahead, winning the match 4:2 and snapping up the World Cup title.
Despite the initial disappointment about the missed opportunity, delight in the silver medal soon prevailed. “It was an incredible experience. The trip, the stadium, the positive and negative emotions in the competition, and for me personally, injury. The tournament packed a punch in all respects, even if I’d have rather foregone the injury to be on the pitch in the final too,” Schwarzhaupt said, summarizing his personal experience.
Benedikt Schwarzhaupt is a German national hockey player, captain of the men’s under-21 field hockey team, and a KLU sport scholarship student. He is in his fifth semester in the undergraduate business administration program. KLU supports top athletes with a special sports program – both financially and by allowing for the balancing act between competitive sports and academic studies via flexible solutions in scheduling and exams.