Bengaluru, 7th September 2023: Deepika, who hails from Hisar, Haryana, picked up a hockey stick in 2012 on her way to wrestling practice with her brother, and after years of hard work, she has made the cut for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team, that will compete in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
~The young forward has set her aim high for the upcoming 19th Asian Games Hangzhou~
“My family has always been supportive of my hockey career; even though a lot was said about me when I first started playing, my father never let it reach my ears,” the 19-year-old said of her early hockey days, before adding, “And after my first Sub Junior National Championships in 2017, they started motivating me even more, their belief in me was visible.”
Deepika’s initial appearance with the Junior Indian Women’s Hockey Team as a forward was to the Youth Olympic Qualifiers in March 2018. She has since competed in the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup 2021 in Potchefstroom, South Africa, where her team finished fourth, as well as the Women’s Junior Asia Cup team, where India won Gold.
“With everyone vying for a spot, I never expected to make the team, and I was ecstatic when I found out. It’s my first time going to a big tournament, and I was a little nervous at first, but Chief Coach Janneke Schopman and the senior players have kept me grounded,” she said on getting named in the Asian Games squad.
“My father has had a few sleepless nights since he found out, I suppose because he can’t believe it’s actually happening, but seeing him as happy as a child when he was in Bengaluru for the send-off ceremony was very fulfilling. He himself said he didn’t think I’d be chosen, but he is extremely proud of everything I’m accomplishing,” she added.
She is one of three drag flickers available to Chief Coach Janneke for penalty corners. Deepika scored seven goals in six games at the Women’s Junior Asia Cup, four of which came from penalty corners.
“I don’t feel under pressure to score by flicking, all the players let me focus on my skill and encourage me to keep the shot on goal as much as I can,” she said when asked if she feels pressured while taking penalty corners, before adding, “We’ve been working on drag flicking with Rupinder Pal Singh in camp for a few days now; he’s got us working on beating the first rusher, showing us where the ball can be stopped, and how to release if the ball is stopped on the sides. All of this help will undoubtedly help me in match situations during the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.”
The Indian Women’s Hockey Team is placed in Pool A for the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 and will face Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong China, and Singapore in the group stage.
HOCKEY INDIA TEAM PARTNERS
Odisha (India’s Best Kept Secret) – Major Team Partner
Sports Authority of India (SAI)
About HOCKEY INDIA
HOCKEY INDIA (HI) is the governing body with exclusive mandate to direct and conduct all activities for both men and women’s hockey in India. It is recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India as the sole body responsible towards promoting Hockey in India.
Headquartered in New Delhi, Hockey India was established on 20th May, 2009 and is affiliated to the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).
Committed to the development of Hockey in the country, Hockey India with the assistance of Sports Authority of India and Department of Sports, Government of India, trains players at sub-junior, junior and senior level. The governing body engages in Coaching the coaches with International Standard certification programs, educates and equips technical officials and umpires to find a foothold in international arena, provides world-class infrastructure and International exposure for the players besides regular international competition. Hockey India has also pioneered in bringing top International hockey events to India such as the FIH Men’s World Cup in 2010 and 2018, FIH Champions Trophy in 2014, FIH Junior Men’s World Cup in 2016 and 2021, FIH Hockey World League Final in 2017. With its vision to popularize the game and constantly promote it, Hockey India brought the Indian Men’s Hockey Team into the top three in the world. Hockey India is also dedicated to getting the Indian Women’s Hockey Team into the top three in the world.
Odisha – the Eastern State of India – is known for its love for Hockey and over the years it has evolved to be the Global Hub of Hockey. The State successfully hosted the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, followed by the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha, FIH Olympic Qualifiers Odisha, and FIH Hockey Pro League 2020-21. Odisha has previously hosted the Champions Trophy 2014 and the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017. Odisha also hosted the FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup in 2021.
Kalinga Lancers, the team owned by the State, were the winners in the Hockey India League 2017. Taking a step further towards realising the dream of restoring the glory of Indian Hockey at the global level, the State is sponsoring the Indian Hockey Teams till 2033.
Odisha also hosted the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023