Vice Captain Deepika Thakur had a double cause for celebration recently. After being named as Captain for the Hawke’s Bay Cup to be held in New Zealand in April in the absence of Captain Ritu Rani, she was awarded the Dhruv Batra Player of the year award at the annual awards for Hockey. She also took home Rs.25 lakh prize money as part of the award. A great day for her, when the entire women’s hockey team was felicitated at the event for getting selected for the Rio Olympics 2016 after a gap of 36 years. Yamunanagar in Haryana. [Feature Image Courtesy: stick2hockey]
“It has been the combined effort of all. Being recognised is motivation for us and makes us work harder. The Olympic Games are coming up and we have to work hard,” said Deepika who credited team effort for her win.
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Deepika brings a sense of experience to the team as she has played many big tournaments including world cup in 2006 and 2010. She has also played in Asian Games championship in 2010 and 2014 and Commonwealth Games held in the same years. With her experience, she is always keen to help her teammates both on the pitch and off it.
Coming from state of Haryana which is famous for marrying of its girls at a very young age, Deepika chose to postpone her wedding because of her commitment with the sport. She was supposed to get married last year until October but as the women’s team qualified for the Olympics, she decided to now get married only after the tournament.
Like many other female Hockey players in the team, Deepika had to really rebel to be able to play a sport going out of her house. She claims that with Hockey India providing them with larger sums of money, she has now become the bread earner of the family. She believes that the prejudices related to a girl playing sports have diminished in her town Yamunanagar because of her as people have started feeling proud of her.
Playing so many tournaments in a career span of a decade has given huge credibility to Deepika. She plays with a fighter spirit and that has made her quite famous among many who follow the game.