New Delhi, Nov 8: Deepika Thakur has already been a popular name in Indian hockey since 2006 when she donned the Indian jersey in both junior and senior World Cups.
Being the top scorer in the recently concluded Asian Women Champions Trophy with 4 goals including the dramatic winner in the final, the midfielder and one of the most experienced players in Indian team seems overjoyed.
Speaking over phone from Jalandhar on Monday (November 7), the 29-year old hockey star said, "The scoreline was 1-1. I struck the winner just a minute before the end of the match and guided my country to the maiden victory in this tournament."
There is a popular story on Deepika regarding her marriage. She was supposed to get married immediately after the Incheon Asian Games 2014. But with a medal and an automatic qualification for the Rio Olympics, Deepika postponed it.
Commenting on the issue, the star from Haryana said, "Yes, in my childhood the girls had to face a lot of hurdles to establish themselves in their respective fields. My parents, especially my mother had a single mission. That was to get me married once I would be grown up. Still, I could manage playing hockey, thanks to the cousin brother who used to play hockey and used to give me encouragement."
Deepika also informed that her mother used to pressurise her even when she had participated in the World Cup.
Deepika started playing as defender but she transformed herself after joining SAI Chandigarh hostel.
She said, “I met some former legendary players like Mamata Kharab, Surinder Kaur. I even met great player like Gagan Ajit Singh. These players’ informal tutelage developed my game gradually. I used to watch Gagan Ajit Singh giving suggestions about positioning when opposition team is coming on counter attack.
"I used to listen to Mamata Kharab, advising me how to increase sudden speed and become aggressive. They had a big influence on my transformation and later under the foreign coach in Indian team, I played as striker as well."
The midfielder now dreams of another medal in the 2018 Asian Games after Indian women earned bronze in Incheon.