By: Vikash Choudhary
Indian women’s hockey team’s sublime performance saw them winning the Asia Cup in Japan after a gap of 13 years and qualifying for World Cup on merit.
Ranked 12th in the world and 4th in Asia , the Indian eves were branded underdogs before the start of Asia Cup but managed to beat much higher ranked opposition such as China and Japan.
While the attackers get the much deserved praise for scoring, one must not forget the great performance of defenders in this Indian squad, thanks to whom India has been able to let only 1 goal fly past the goalkeeper prior to knockout stages.
Sushila Chanu, former captain and the only player from Manipur in this Indian squad, who led the Indian team to 2016 Rio Olympics after a gap of 36 years, had made the comeback after recovering from a knee injury and had been anchor for the defense.
India won it’s first ever medal in Women’s Hockey World Cup in 2013, under the leadership of Sushila Chanu. But there was a time in her life when she almost gave up hockey after she was put on stand by for Northeast sports festival in Sub-Junior category at the age of 12. She then bounced back and joined SAI in Gwalior and became a member of senior team by the time she was 20.
Overjoyed to be named Captain in Junior squad, she went on to make a name for herself in history books after leading India to a bronze medal finish in Junior World Cup in Germany.She played a crucial role in the team making it to the semis of the Hockey World League in 2015.
She has been working as a junior ticket collector in Central Mumbai Railway since 2010. As a player she has to attend training camps or a match which leads to deductions in her allowance.Yet players like her don the Indian jersey with pride and passion even through hardships.
She has made the whole country proud with her exemplary performance in this Asia Cup too and will continue to do so.