Within the lately concluded three-match Take a look at collection in opposition to Australia, Sangita Kumari emerged because the top-scorer with two objectives, one every within the first two video games. Her velocity, agility, knack of poaching balls in-and-around the placing circle and skill to attain objectives have catapulted the 21-year-old from the tribal village of Karangaguri-Nawatoli in Jharkhand to the Indian girls’s crew.
The ahead made a direct influence on her debut for India, scoring her maiden worldwide aim in a Professional League match in opposition to Spain in February 2022. Ever since, Sangita has scored 9 objectives within the 23 internationals she has performed, cementing her place within the Indian crew.
Having taken former skipper Rani Rampal’s spot within the crew, Sangita helped India finish a 16-year drought with a bronze on the 2022 Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham. She helped India win the inaugural Nations Cup in December final 12 months and likewise was the top-scorer with three objectives as India gained the four-match Take a look at collection in opposition to South Africa 3-0 in January.
Sangita and her household have seen a dramatic rise career-wise, socially and extra importantly financially, contemplating their humble beginnings. “The financial condition of my home when I was growing up was bad to say the least. My father is a farmer, mother a housewife and I have four sisters and one brother. The house that I grew up in was a mud house, it had no electricity or water supply. We had no money, no good or new clothes, no shoes,” says Sangita remembering her tough childhood.
However Sangita had hockey.
Born and raised within the hockey-crazy district of Simdega – which has produced gamers like Olympic champion Sylvanus Dung Dung, world champion Michael Kindo, former India captain Asunta Lakra amongst others, the tribal lady picked up the game when finding out at RC MS Karangaguri Center College. “I used to play barefoot using sticks made up of bamboo,” says Sangita.
Sangita turned obsessive about the game when she noticed India enjoying on TV for the primary time. “Someday our college headmaster organised for everybody to look at a world hockey match on TV. I instantly began studying the abilities and strikes. After seeing the match, I felt like I may also play for India at some point,” she mentioned.
That match generated an urge in Sangita to play extra tournaments which additionally helped her earn her first hockey stick when she was named the most effective participant throughout a college competitors. Her expertise impressed the scouts who chosen her for the day boarding centre on the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium, Simdega, in 2012 beneath coach Pratima Barwa, who coaches the junior state crew and has additionally produced India internationals like Salima Tete and Magnificence Dungdung.
That was the beginning of Sangita’s skilled profession, studying and enhancing her expertise through the 5 years she spent on the centre. Quickly sufficient, Sangita began representing Jharkhand in sub-junior nationals adopted by junior nationals, guiding Jharkand to a number of medals through the interval. Her laurels didn’t go unnoticed as Sangita was chosen for the junior nationwide camp in 2016 beneath coaches Baljeet Singh Saini and Lakra.
Very quickly, Sangita made her junior India debut on the five-nation invitational event in Valencia in October 2016, scoring her first worldwide aim in opposition to Spain in solely her second recreation. The limelight turned brighter when she scored eight objectives and helped India win bronze on the 2016 U-18 Asia Cup. Aside from a number of Take a look at matches, she was additionally a part of the India squad on the 2018 Asian Youth Olympic Video games Qualifier.
However simply as she was rising up the ladder, a serious damage pressured her to bear an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgical procedure on her proper leg, placing her out of motion for a 12 months. After present process rehabilitation, Sangita returned to motion in 2019, enjoying a number of home competitions, most notably serving to Jharkhand win the Junior Nationals in 2019.
Her goal-scoring potential, 3D expertise, expertise at dodging helped her make a comeback to the junior India crew for the World Cup – which was scheduled for December 2021 however postponed to April 2022 resulting from Covid-19 – the place India completed a creditable fourth.
Her publicity journeys overseas in her junior days along with coaching with the seniors within the camps helped Sangita management her nerves and ship on massive events, serving to her get chosen for the senior crew in 2022.
Hockey additionally helped Sangita get her first job when she obtained employed by the Railway Sports activities Promotion Board in August 2021. It was a particularly emotional second for not simply Sangita but additionally her household. Whereas her father all the time supported her to play hockey in her youthful days, Sangita’s mom was in opposition to it, asking her to study family chores.
“Now my mother says it was her fault asking me not to play. It is because of hockey I got a job,” mentioned the India ahead, whose youthful sister has additionally been chosen at Simdega hockey centre.
Sangita was so elated when she obtained the job that she shared her happiness not simply together with her household however with the whole village. The teenager purchased dhotis for the aged in her village and gifted hockey sticks and balls to the youngsters. “I wanted to do something for my village. I remember the conditions I had to face when I started. At least the ones playing now should have the basics that I didn’t get. I want them to rise like I did. And it is already showing. A lot of kids in my village started playing hockey watching me,” mentioned Sangita.
Sangita’s village can also be seeing higher days with the arrival of electrical energy some years again. When Sangita was chosen for the 2022 Commonwealth Video games – her second competitors in India colors – Hockey Jharkhand president Bhola Nath Singh, who can also be the secretary basic of Hockey India, obtained to know that her household won’t be able to see their daughter play as they don’t have a TV. Singh instantly despatched a brand new TV to their house which the household now makes use of to look at Sangita’s matches within the blue India jersey.
“But there are still some problems. There’s no water supply at my home. I want to build a proper house for my parents which will have electricity and water supply. That is my aim,” concluded Sangita.