Been a long, hard journey back into the team: Sushila Chanu

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Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam

Bengaluru, September 21: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam has been a regular fixture in the Indian Women’s Hockey team ever since making her debut with the Senior Team in 2009, but two major long-term injuries in 2016 and 2018 played a spoilsport in the Midfielder’s endeavour to represent the country at all major tournaments as she missed the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup London 2018 and the Asian Games 2018 due to injury. It was a tough phase for the Manipur-born Midfielder, who opened up about her comeback into the team.

“It has been a long, hard journey back into the team after suffering my second major injury in 2018. It was an important year in terms of the tournaments which were happening, and missing the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup London 2018, Asian Games 2018 and the AHF Women’s Champions Trophy was a major blow for me psychologically. They were all major tournaments and any player would want to represent the country at such events, but it wasn’t meant to be. However, now I have the chance to stay fit and keep performing for my country,” said Sushila Chanu.

The half-back Captained the Indian Women’s Hockey Team at the Rio Olympics 2016 where the team was returning to the competition after a gap of 36 years, but it was not an easy task for Sushila as she had just suffered an injury to her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the start of that year. However, the fighter that Sushila is, she recovered from the injury in quick time to make it to the Indian squad for the prestigious quadrennial event.

Sushila, 27, was also the Captain of the Junior Indian Women’s Team which bagged the Bronze Medal at the Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup in Mönchengladbach in 2013, and she recalls it as one of the best moments of her career. “I think the Bronze Medal at the Junior World Cup in Germany was the best moment for me so far in my career. We beat England in the shoot-out in the Bronze Medal match. We were all very happy with the performance, but the best thing about that win was that it gave our entire team the belief that we could beat anyone,” said Sushila who began playing hockey at the Posterior Hockey Academy, Manipur in 2003.

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team is scheduled to play five matches against a strong Great Britain team in Marlow, England from 27th September – 4th October 2019, and will be departing the country on Sunday evening.

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