Rio Olympics 2016: Manipur elated at Sushila Chanu’s elevation to India women's hockey team captain
There is joy all around Manipur ever since the news trickled in that their state girl Sushila Chanu has been named the captain of the national women’s hockey team for the upcoming Rio Olympics. The 24-year-old centre-half, who does a good job as a fullback as well, is among four Manipuris in the Rio Olympic-bound men and women teams. Anuradha Thokchom is the state girl in the women’s team, while Kothajit Singh and Chinglensana Singh are named in the men’s team.
Understandably, this is a big moment for the state of Manipur. “The entire state is proud to know that Sushila Chanu is the Indian women team captain for the Olympics. Representing the Olympics is a big thing but to be captain of the Olympic hockey side is something massive. She is a hard-working girl blessed with vast knowledge of the game. I’m sure she will do a good job in Rio,” says former Olympian and Hockey Manipur President Thoiba Singh.
This is not the first time that Sushila has been handed captaincy responsibilities. She had led the senior team for the first time at the Four Nation Tourney in Australia in May-June. Sushila also captained the side to a bronze medal finish at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Germany.
Will the Rio Olympics a big test for her considering the fact that she has to handle a team that has senior girls like Poonam Rani and Rani Rampal? “Sushila is a sweet girl and very disciplined – I don’t think there will be any issues as she gets along well with all her team-mates,” Thoiba quips.
Manipur has a history of producing hockey players, who have gone on to serve the country with distinction.Former goalie Neelkomal Singh, who was one of the two goalkeepers of the national team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where India finished fifth also hailed from the North-Eastern state.
Thoiba Singh himself served the national team for a long time, playing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Then there were also the likes of Tikken Singh and Brojen Singh who have worn the national jersey with pride. Even Suraj Lata Devi, who not only captained the national women’s team but served the country for a long time.