Former Indian women’s senior team captain, Oinam Bembem Devi has been announced as one of the recipients of the Padma Shri award in 2020. After being declared as one of the sportspeople to pick up the accolade, the footballer expressed delight and was also grateful that her contribution to Indian football hadn’t gone unnoticed. She quipped,
I am happy that the government has recognised the several years of my contribution to the senior women’s National team. I am glad that the sacrifices I made for my career have resulted in this.
Furthermore, she talked about how she had never dreamt of being bestowed with such awards, especially when she began playing. Additionally, she expressed that it was indeed tough to win medals in football and that she felt overjoyed after her work had been given the recognition it deserved.
Having dreamt of representing the national team moments after watching her first women’s match, Bembem Devi went on to win numerous trophies for India, including three SAF Cup titles (2010, 2012, 2014) and two South Asian Games gold medals (2010, 2016).
The footballer hung up her boots in 2016 and has been involved with the game as a coach, wherein she has led teams of the ilk of Eastern Sporting Union and U-17 side, Cheetahs.
As for individual awards, Bembem Devi was previously conferred with the AIFF Women’s Player of the Year prize in 2001 and 2013 while she was also handed the Arjuna award in 2017.