Despite all uneven circumstances, despite lack of facilities, despite lack of financial support, despite lack of background support and even despite lack of family support, 10 girls from the different corners of India have made it possible this time! Creating a history after 36 years, they are in the list of Rio Olympics hockey players! Yes! our Indian Women's Hockey Team is going to play first time in the Olympics game. And hence, Shahrukh Khan's Chak de India is a REALITY now! They are an inspiration for all of us!
Against all odds, here's how women hockey players made it to Rio Olympics! Poverty, lack of proper equipment, bad pitches, no specialised support staff, and perhaps even coaches not well versed with modern coaching methods — these are some of the challenges beginners face. Consider this. If a talented player from some remote region in Odisha hones his or her skills on natural grass or gravel, it is probably going to be a nightmare if the player has to switch to artificial turf. Precious time is lost in re-learning, and adjusting, to the new surface. Apart from all these, some even have had to put up with gender discrimination.
Still, for those who have set their minds and goals on achieving something in hockey — like making the Indian team for World Cup, Champions Trophy or even the Olympics — these troubles do not matter. On-field, external pressures are kept aside, and there is only the game.
Here is the brief story of the players of the team Hockey
Some are from the small towns of Haryana & punjab, some are from the tribes of Odisha and some are from the far Manipur and other Northeastern states. Besides all odd situations the girls have led the Indian Women's hokey team to new heights.
Punjabi and Haryanavi girls appreciate their coach Balwant Singh who acted like a silver lining in the remote areas where girls were not allowed to even remove dupattas from their heads. And it was difficult for them to play with shorts. But it was their coach Baldev singh who made the school staff understand that they should do something our country can be proud of, something that will benefit girls. He took it as a challenge to eliminate discrimination against girls in Haryana. You must have seen this in the Bollywood movie. He wanted to do something that would make them proud of girls. He has done that. And today is the day when all parents of that locality want a girl who plays hockey now!
On the other hand, Girls from North Eastern States were from the area where biggest problem they faced was lack of knowledge about the game. They did not know about the world championships of sports like Olympics etc. Thniking of a women in that was a far ahead task.
Odisha is the country's hockey hotbed at present. When one talks about the sport and the state, many names come to mind. Adivasi people love their hockey, and take to it readily, which helps produce players for the national team. But there are a lot of problems which are being faced by them like they have to go far away from home by walking kilometers, cycling kilometers, and then by bus and even crossing the river by swimming. Also they have to cross a thick jungle in between.
But the common factor is that players have had to struggle to make it to the Indian team. Hopefully, making it to the Olympics after 36 years will put spotlight on the women, and things will improve!
- Sushila Chanu (Captain and Defender)
- Navjot Kaur
- Deep Grace Ekka
- Nikki Pradhan
- Anuradha Devi Thokchom
- Poonam Rani
- Vandana Katariya
- Deepika (vice-captain)
- Namita Toppo
- Renuka Yadav
- Sunita Lakra
- Rani, Preeti Dubey
- Lilima Minz.