Women's hockey team has only one focus right now, which is Tokyo: Forward Udita
New Delhi, June 29, 2021
For forward Udita, a handball player who switched to hockey only in 2016, getting selected in the 16-member Indian Women's Hockey Tokyo Olympic squad is a dream come true.
Now she, along with her team mates, is all geared up to perform well in the Games.
Talking to Hockey India in Bengaluru about the team's preparations for the Olympics, which begins on July 23, Udita said that the coming weeks leading up to the tournament are going to be the most crucial days of each of the players' lives.
"The 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 Olympics,"
The 23-year-old from Haryana, who was part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2018 Asian Games, said, "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," she said.
Udita, who made her Senior Team debut in 2017, admitted that she was lucky to have had the chance of playing for the Indian team in some of the biggest sporting events in her career so far.
"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," she 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. 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," she said.