Hockey heroines return to rousing welcome - Subhadra makes country proud by winning best woman hockey player honour at Bangkok

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By ARUN KUMAR THAKUR in Ranchi
  • Published 11.11.09
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Ranchi, Nov. 10: Subhadra Pradhan, adjudged the best woman hockey player in Asia this year, returned to Ranchi to an emotional welcome today along with teammate Asunta Lakra.

The two played a key role in India’s success at the senior Asia women's hockey championship held in Bangkok from October 30 to November 8.

At the end, India settled for the silver medal after losing to China in the finals by a margin of two goals, at 3-5. Nevertheless, the performance ensured that Indian women's hockey team will play in the 2010 World Cup to be held in Beunos Aires in Argentina.

Commenting on her feat, Subhadra said: “The joy of being adjudged the best player in Asia would have been more had we been able to win the gold. However, it is still a nice feeling.”

Asunta, her younger peer, echoed similar sentiments.

While Subhadra the full back guarded the Indian goal post right through the tournament, Asunta created opportunities as the right half.

Reacting to the hero’s welcome, Subhadra said, “It feels great to be back home to such a reception and felicitation which really inspires us and motivates us to do better next time.”

Secretary of Jharkhand Women's Hockey Association Savitry Purty, herself a former international, senior office-bearers of the association along with P.K. Mukherjee Rinku, the general secretary of South Eastern Railway’s sports division, felicitated Subhadra and Asunta.

However, no one from the newly-formed Hockey Jharkhand was present to welcome the players. “Where are the so-called new guardians of hockey, including women's hockey?” wondered a supporter of Jharkhand Women's Hockey Association.

“What really is a matter of joy for us is that despite problems, we felicitated these players and wished them luck before they left for Bangkok. Our faith in their talent has been fully vindicated, and they have done the country and the state proud,” said Purty.

Peer Mohammed, secretary of Hockey Jharkhand, said from Jamshedpur, “We did not know their travel schedule. I even contacted Hockey India, but the officials there too could not provide their travel plans. Otherwise, we would have been there at the airport. However, my men in Ranchi must have gone to their homes in the evening with bouquets to convey our congratulations.”