Vandana Kataria: 10 things to know about India's hockey star who's looking to turn heads at Rio
Vandana Kataria is one of the most talented youngsters in the Indian women’s hockey team. She will be representing the country at the Rio Olympics as a member of the Indian Eves team, who will be taking part in the Games after a span of 36 years.
She dreams of dazzling on the field and perform brilliantly on a consistent basis and do everything in her power to see her team win a medal at the Olympics. Let us now take a look at 10 facts about her:
#1 Vandana Kataria was born on 15 April 1992 in Uttar Pradesh. Her father Nahar Singh is employed in BHEL, where he works as a master technician. She hails from the Roshanabad village in Haridwar.
#2 She first represented the country as a junior player in 2006 and made her debut for the senior team four years later in 2010 as an 18-year-old prodigious forward whose talent had caught the eye of the selectors.
#3 She helped the junior team clinch bronze medal at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, Germany. She herself had a great tournament as she turned out to be the top scorer for India with 5 goals in 4 games. She considers this to be the best moment of her career.
“It has to be when we won the bronze medal at the World Cup in Germany. My father was called by the media and he had tears in his eyes. So, making my father proud is the best moment of my hockey career.”
#4 She was felicitated by the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand for helping the junior team win bronze medal in Germany, and was given a prize money of Rs 2 lakh for her great show at the tournament.
#5 Just 24 years of age, she is already one of the most experienced players in the Indian side. She completed 100 games for the Indian Eves at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in a match against Canada.
#6 She was sorely missed by the team at the Hawke’s Bay Cup, where the Indian eves finished 6th.
“We clearly missed Vandana during the Hawke's Bay Cup. Her being back in the team strengthens our attack as she is good with speed and skill, to break the defence chain, which at times leaves the opponents on the back foot.” - Poonam Rani
#7 She had a dream run in Round 2 of the 2014-15 FIH Hockey World League, where she helped her team to win the tournament. She was in scorching form, as she finished with 11 goals which made her the top scorer of the event.
#8 She has earned accolades from the greats of hockey who have praised her for her selfless performances for the Indian team on a consistent basis, and she is considered to be one of the best players in the Indian side by coach Roelant Oltmans himself.
“In my book, Vandana is one of the top forwards in world hockey. She is quick, can score goals, can defend and is improving all the time.” - Roelant Oltmans
#9 She was one of the main reasons for the Indian women’s hockey team’s qualification for the Rio Olympics after a long wait of 36 years. She was also given a prize money of 1 lakh as the whole team was rewarded by Hockey India officials for making the cut for the Games in 2015.
“Our morale is high. Our performance in Antwerp gave us a lot of confidence. We beat a lot of teams that we'll be facing in Rio.”
#10 She is one of the biggest supporters for a women’s league just like the Hockey India League, as it would give a lot of exposure to women’s hockey and provide a platform which would help to unearth rare talents from nooks and crannies of the country who could go on to represent the country in the sport of hockey and win laurels for the nation.