Indian women’s hockey team forward Udita says the decision to switch to hockey from handball six years ago changed her life completely as she gears up to represent the country in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old from Haryana, who has played 32 matches so far, was named in the 16-member Indian team that will participate at the Tokyo Games beginning July 23.Also Read - Hockey India Announces Squad for Commonwealth Games 2022
“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,” Udita said in a release issued by Hockey India on Monday. “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.” Also Read - Women's Hockey Pro League: We Have Worked On Our Mistakes, Are Ready For Belgium, Says India Skipper Savita
Udita, who made her senior team debut in 2017 and was part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2018 Asian Games, said she is fortunate to have played in some of the biggest sporting events in her career so far. Also Read - India vs South Korea Hockey Live Streaming Asia Cup 2022 : When and Where to Watch Online and on TV, Disney+ Hotstar, Star Sports Network
“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.” Talking about the preparations for the Tokyo Games, Udita said the next few weeks are going to be the most crucial days of their lives.
“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,” she said. “Everything we do now, we will do with an aim to produce the best results at the Tokyo Olympics.”
Udita said she has learned a lot from experienced players such as Rani and Vandana Katariya.
“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,” she said.
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.