Indian women’s team’s midfielder Sushila Chanu has expressed that she has now got a chance to remain fit and perform for Team India after recovering from injury. Chanu, who had two major injuries in the last three years, has also mentioned that it was a long, hard journey back into the team.
After making her debut way back in 2009, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam from Manipur has been a regular member in the Indian women’s team. However, two injuries in 2016 and 2018 hampered the midfielder as she failed to get a chance to represent the country in big events. She had missed the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup and the Asian Games 2018 due to injury.
Chanu, who is a part of the national side now, has expressed that it was a long and hard journey to get back into the national side.
"It has been a long, hard journey back into the team after suffering my second major injury in 2018. It was an important year in terms of the tournaments which were happening, and missing the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup London 2018, Asian Games 2018 and the AHF Women's Champions Trophy was a major blow for me psychologically.
“They were all major tournaments and any player would want to represent the country at such events, but it wasn't meant to be. However, now I have the chance to stay fit and keep performing for my country," Chanu was quoted as saying by the Hockey India.
The Manipur-born hockey star had led the team at the Rio Olympics 2016, a tournament in which India was playing after a gap of 36 years. She had just recovered from her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury that she sustained at the start of the year.
“I think 2016 was probably the hardest year for me towards the start because it was the year of the Olympic Games, and it had always been my dream to represent the country at the Olympics. But with the hard work put in by the medical staff in my recovery, I was able to make it to the team, and was bestowed with the huge honour of captaining the side. I still can remember that feeling when I was leading the team out in our first match of the Olympics, it was unbelievable," expressed Sushila.
The Indian women will play five matches against a strong Great Britain team in Marlow, England from September 27 to October 4 and Chanu is a part of the team. The tour is expected to be a good preparation stage for the team ahead of the Olympic qualifying match against the United States of America (USA). Chanu is determined to do well in the next two months and help her side achieve the target of Olympic qualification.
"I have missed a lot of tournaments in the recent past, but I am very determined now to be a part of the Indian team, and help my team in achieving our goals. The first upcoming test for us will be the Tour of England where we will be playing against a strong Great Britain team. After that, we will have the all-important FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha where we face USA, so we will be focusing on preparing well, and producing our best collective performances in the upcoming two months,” the Manipuri half-back concluded.