Odisha’s Sunita Lakra on Thursday announced her international retirement. She claimed she is suffering from a knee injury which would eventually require another surgery. Sunita, who led the squad in the Asian Champions Trophy women’s hockey tournament at Donghae City, Korea, in 2018, is a defender in Indian Women’s Hockey Team.

27-year-old Sunita who witnessed India winning the 2018 Asian Games silver, now says she has a nagging injury on her knee. She said this injury might be a big issue and will come on her way to be a part of India’s Tokyo Olympics campaign this year. “Today is a very emotional day for me as I have decided to retire from International Hockey,” she said in a statement issued by Hockey India.

Sunita is playing in the team since 2008. Overall, she played 139 matches for India and she was a major part of the side that claimed the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal. “I was very fortunate to have played at the Rio Olympics in 2016, India’s first appearance in over three decades. As much as I wish to be part of the Indian team as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, my knee injuries have cut short my dream. I have been told by the doctors that I would be requiring another knee surgery in the coming days and I am unsure how long it would take before I fully recover,” she explained.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sunita Lakra announced her international retirement stating that she is suffering from a knee injury which would eventually require another surgery
  • Sunita, who is a defender in Indian Women’s Hockey Team, captained India during the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, leading the side to a second-place finish in the event
  • Her injury might come on her way to be a part of India’s Tokyo Olympics campaign this year

Also Read: Ex-captain of Hockey women’s team, Mamta Kharab becomes Gurgaon ACP

After recovering, Sunita will still play in domestic hockey. “Pursuant to my treatment, I will play domestic hockey and play for NALCO who have supported my career by providing me with a job,” she said. “I have come a long way in the sport and I carry with me some great memories with the Indian team who have stood strong by my side and the girls were always my family away from home,” she added.

Lakra thanked her teammates and chief coach Sjoerd Marijne for their support. “My heartfelt thanks to Hockey India who ensured I was given the best treatment during my injury and I am grateful for their unparalleled support to women’s hockey.”

“My family, my husband and friends back in Odisha have been my strongest supporters and I wish to thank them for helping me pursue my passion for hockey. I could not have come this far without their encouragement,” she said.

India captain Rani Rampal recently took to Twitter and mentioned that the entire team would miss Sunita. She tweeted, “Congratulations @sunitalakraodisha26 for a wonderful carrier (sic). Will definately (sic) miss the best moments we have shared on the field and dressing room for more than a decade. Praying for your recovery soon and all the best for your future endeavours.”

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