Odisha girl Sunita Lakra has been selected the captain of India women hockey team at the Asian Champions Trophy, starting May 13 at Donghae City of Korea.
With regular skipper Rani Rampal rested, experienced defender Sunita Lakra has been given the responsibility of leading the 18-member team at the tournament.
Goalkeeper Savita has been selected the vice-captain.
Along with Sunita Lakra, there are four more hockey players from Odisha, who have found a place in Team India. They are Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Anupa Barla.
In 2016, India had defeated China in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy.
Team India again beat China at Asia Cup 2017 to win the title.
Here are some interesting things to know about India women hockey captain Sunita Lakra:
1. Sunita Lakra was born on June 11, 1991 at Rajgangpur town in Sundergarh district of Odisha.
2. She made her debut in the senior Indian squad in 2009.
3. Often called the backbone of the India women hockey team, Sunita Lakra has been part of various important tournaments like 17th Asian Games and Women’s Hockey World League Round 2.
4. Sunita Lakra marked her 50th international match during the India-New Zealand clash at Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015. Her 100th international match was during the India-New Zealand hockey Test series in 2017.
5. In August 2017, she was selected in the India women’s national field hockey team for its 15-day European tour in September.
6. During her formative years, Sunita Lakra was coached by A N Bihari at the government-run Panposh Sports Hostel (PSH) at Rourkela.
7. Sunita Lakra’s elevation in her team makes her the third Odia women to be the skipper of the Indian women hockey team.
8. During early 2000s, Jyoti Sunita Kullu was the captain of the women’s hockey team. In 2004, Subhadra Pradhan was picked the Indian hockey captain for junior women’s team, who went on to become senior Indian women’s hockey team skipper in 2013.
9. Her father is a farmer in Odisha. She has three elder brothers.
10. It was her father who forced Sunita Lakra to join Sports Authority of India (SAI) at Rourkela in northern Odisha.
11. Sunita Lakra came for the selection trial with a bamboo hockey stick. But on the very opening day of the three-day trial, she impressed the selectors with her speed and dribbling skill.
12. Her coach Amulya Nandy was so bowled over by her that he presented her a modern hockey stick on the second day of the selection trial.