India women hockey forward Udita has been working on improving her game during the lockdown enforced by coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - When Balbir Singh Senior Played 1956 Olympic Final Against Pakistan With a Broken Finger
“I am watching a lot of footage of my previous games during the lockdown period and noting down some key things that I need to improve once we get back on the pitch. Hopefully, I will improve my skills quickly and become a much better player,” Udita said. Also Read - After Dhyan Chand, There Was Balbir Singh Senior: Milkha Singh
The 22-year-old idolises her captain Rani Rampal and Vandana Katariya and keenly observes how the duo train before matches. “It has been a wonderful journey with the Indian team. I idolise Rani and Vandana, and I have learned a lot from them. 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. I keep a close eye on how they practice and strategise before matches. I wish I can become like them someday,” she said. Also Read - Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli, Sardar Singh to Abhinav Bindra: India's Sporting Community Pays Tribute to 'Rare Role Model' Balbir Singh Sr.
For Udita, the introduction to hockey was purely by chance. She used to play handball and when her coach didn’t turn up for several days, she switched to hockey.
“It’s amazing where life takes you sometimes,” Udita recalled. “My handball coach didn’t turn up for three days and then I made the switch to hockey in school. I took to hockey immediately and I understood that I can be good at this sport. I think the U-18 Asia Cup in 2016 was a big turning point for me.”
She continued, I was the captain of the Indian team and we won a bronze medal in the tournament. My performances were recognised in the competition and eventually, I made my way to the senior Indian team. Being part of the squad for the Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 was a special feeling, but I have missed out on some big tournaments.”
However, life wasn’t easy for Udita when growing up having lost her father in 2015.
“My mother is very special in my life. After I lost my father in 2015, my mother has been a big support for all of us (we are three siblings). Our mother took our father’s place and was always there for us. I am in the Indian Women’s Hockey Team only because of her. She is my friend as well. I have no words to describe how special my mother is for me. So on this Mother’s Day, I would like to thank her for always being there for me,” Udita said.