It was a dream come true moment for the Indian Women’s Hockey team forward Udita. She made it to the 16-member Indian squad for the Tokyo Olympics. Only at 23, Udita has already represented India in 32 matches and was also part of the Silver medal winning side at the 2018 Asian Games.
The young forward explained how switching from handball to hockey changed her fortunes completely. “It’s amazing where life takes you. I only started playing Hockey six years ago. Before that, I was busy playing handball. But life had other plans for me. My handball Coach was absent for three consecutive days and led me to choose Hockey as an alternative sport. And the choice to play Hockey changed my life entirely,” said the forward in her interview with Hockey India.
The 23-year-old is grateful and honoured to get a chance to represent the nation in Hockey. She made her Indian team debut back in 2017 and the Olympics will be her biggest event till now.
“I was selected for the Junior National Camp in 2015 after some impressive performances in domestic tournaments. Then, I made my debut for the Junior Team in 2016. I later went on to lead the Junior India squad that won the Bronze at the 4th U-18 Women’s Asia Cup in 2016. I have been very fortunate to have got an opportunity to play for India in some of the biggest events like the Asian Games and the World Cup in London where we had some significant performances as a Team.”
The girl based from Haryana is learning from the two of the most experienced Hockey players in this Indian side, Rani Rampaul and Vandana Katariya. Udita expressed how training with such professionals also makes her feel more motivated.
“Training with Rani and Vandana has taught me a lot of things. They have played nearly 500 games for India between them and share a very good rapport. They are very experienced players and have always supported me during my time with the Team. I am very lucky to have seniors like them around in the Team.”
The Olympics will begin on 23 rd July, 2021 and Udita feels that their start to the tournament will be important and will set the tone for the rest of the matches.
“The Indian team only has one focus right now, which is Tokyo. There is no doubt that the next few weeks are going to be the most crucial days of our lives. Everything we do now, we will do with an aim to produce the best results at the Tokyo Olympics,” she asserted.
Lastly, Udita shared the struggles that she had early on in her career. So when she was asked about a special person she did not hesitate to take her mother’s name.
“My mother is very special in my life. Since I lost my father in 2015, my mother has been a big support for all of us. Our mother took our father’s place and was always there for us,” Udita signed off.