Birendra Lakra, born on 3rd February 1990 in Odisha, is a vital cog in the Indian Hockey team’s defence and has tasted significant victories, appearing 156 times since his debut in the series against South Africa in 2012.
With flames of aggression within him, he is one of India’s most versatile hockey players today, having earned numerous accolades for the nation in his career so far.
As a young boy from Odisha who started playing at the SAIL Hockey Academy in Rourkela, Birendra Lakra grew up idolising former India and Odisha fullback Dilip Tirkey. It’s hardly a surprise that like his idol, Birendra too has become a nightmare for every forward in the sport.
Being a part of the team that won the FIH Junior World Cup at Singapore in 2009, Lakra was first included in the junior team for the singapore tour in 2007. He has also represented the Indian senior team in the SAAF Games at Dhaka in 2010, in the Youth Olympics at Sydney in 2009 and once again during the 2012 London Olympics.
Rise To Glory
Birendra was bagged by the Ranchi franchise for the 2013 edition of the Hockey India League and played a pivotal role in its title triumphs in 2013 and again in 2015.
Lakra scored the first goal and was instrumental in India's stupendous victory in the final game of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament against France in 2012. He also played a key role in taking India into the semi-finals of 2012 Hockey Champions Trophy.
A gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games, silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal finish for India in the World League Final of 2015 are few of the noteworthy achievements of Lakra.
Low Point Of Career
An ACL injury in 2016 which started off as a ligament tear in the right knee in 2015 led to Lakra being ruled out of the Olympic Games which was held in 2016. Lakra, was back in the Indian team after over an eight-months long injury layoff. However, he missed significant tournaments in 2017.
The Next Phase Of His Career
Birendra Lakra is all set for the Men’s World Cup in India this year. He’s counting on the crowd to back the squad as they’ll be giving their all on the turf.
Despite testing times during his period of injury, Lakra has remained resolute and has earnestly worked on his comeback. He is a very composed and determined player who has been vital to the Indian team’s defence over the last couple of years. Hardly amongst the limelight even with such notable achievements, Birendra Lakra, one of Indian Hockey’s most underrated players, is without doubt, the silent guardian of Indian Hockey.