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Indian Hockey News: Former national women's team captain Sunita Lakra calls a day on her international career 

Sunita Lakra played at the defender
Sunita Lakra played at the defender's position for India
Modified 03 Jan 2020, 10:58 IST

What's the story?

Indian women's hockey team defender, Sunita Lakra has announced her retirement from international hockey because of an injury breakdown. The former Indian team skipper revealed that she will have to undergo a knee surgery soon and she had no idea when she would recover to full fitness.

The background

Sunita Lakra has been one of the cornerstones of the Indian women's team's defense line ever since she made her debut in 2008. Her good performances helped her in gaining a place in India's squad for Rio Olympics 2016. She had even skippered India recently in the Asian Champions Trophy 2018. Under her leadership, the team finished second at the event.

The heart of the matter

In a statement issued by Hockey India on Thursday (2nd January,2020), Sunita was quoted as follows:

“Today is a very emotional day for me as I have decided to retire from International Hockey. I had been part of this wonderful journey with the Indian Women’s Hockey Team since 2008 and through this journey we have seen many ups and downs but we remained as one unit, giving each other the strength and motivation to remain strong and fight all the odds to excel and bring laurels to the country.”

She had played 139 matches for India but Sunita felt that representing the nation in the 2016 Olympics was a special moment. She added:

“I was very fortunate to have played in the Rio Olympics in 2016, India’s first appearance in over three decades. Many people told me it was a historic moment for women’s hockey in India but I always believed this team can achieve so much more.”

She disclosed that she will continue to play at the domestic level and said:

“As much as I wish to be part of the Indian team as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, my knee injuries have cut short my dream. I have been told by the doctors that I would be requiring another knee surgery in the coming days and I am unsure how long it would take before I fully recover. Pursuant to my treatment, I will play domestic hockey and play for NALCO who have supported my career by providing me a job.”

Ultimately, she thanked everyone who was a part of her journey besides wishing the Indian team luck for Tokyo Olympics 2020.

“I would like to thank my teammates, Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne and the team support staff. My heartfelt thanks to Hockey India who ensured I was given the best treatment during my injury and I am grateful for their unparalleled support to women’s hockey. My family, my husband, and friends back in Odisha have been my strongest supporters and I wish to thank them for helping me pursue my passion for hockey. I could not have come this far without their encouragement. Lastly, I wish all my teammates the very best as they begin the New Year with a new goal to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I will miss being part of this fantastic team!” 

What's next?

We hope Sunita Lakra recovers to full fitness and returns for NALCO at the domestic level very soon.

Published 03 Jan 2020, 10:58 IST
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