Fighting against all odds to fulfil her dreams of playing for the Indian women’s Hockey team, Sangita Kumari, is all set to don blue jersey as she represents the country at the inaugural Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, London.
Due to a frail financial condition of her family, she does even have a television set at her house till date. She originally hails from Karangagudi village in Jharkhand’s Simdega district.
After the Hockey Jharkhand President Bholanath Singh came to know about Sangita’s financial condition, he sent a new LED TV from Ranchi on Thursday at her house in Jharkhand so that Sangita’s family and the people in her village can see her play live on television at the CWG 2022.
For this Indian women’s hockey team, three players belong to Jharkhand — Nikki Pradhan, Salima Tete and Sangita Kumari. All three sportswomen belong to extremely poor families but after facing insurmountable roadblocks and with help of rigorous training and hard work, they have cemented their position in the Indian women’s hockey team squad.
Of these three sportswomen, Nikki Pradhan and Salima Tete have also been a part of the Indian women’s hockey team that performed brilliantly on the hockey field at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in Japan.
Sangita has been given the opportunity to play for the Indian women’s hockey team at various international-level competitions, but it is for the first time that she is representing the country at the inaugural CWG 2022.
The family of Sangita Kumari, a resident of Karangagudi village of Kersai block, located nearly 35 km from the insurgency-affected Simdega district headquarters of Jharkhand, still lives in a ‘kutcha’ house.
Besides her parents, she lives with five sisters and one brother. Sangita’s parents sustain their family by doing labour work or farming.
A few months back, Sangita got a job in the Indian Railways as a class third employee with help of which she takes care of her family’s expenses along with the education of her sisters.
When she received her first salary as an Indian Railways empoyee, Sangita gifted hockey balls to the children living in her village.
Sangita’s father Ranjit Manjhi says that she always had passion for hockey since childhood.
Seeing large number of girls living in her village as well as her elder sisters playing hockey, she too insisted and started playing hockey for the first time with a stick made of bamboo.
A few months later, when she got a chance to play in a hockey competition in Simdega, she actually lifted a real hockey stick for the first time.
She caught everyone’s attention with her brilliant performance during this match and in 2012, she got selected in the state government’s residential Women’s Hockey Training Centre. Since then she has not looked back at all and achieved new records on the hockey field.
Sangita was selected for the first time in Indian women’s Hockey team in 2016 and in the same year she performed brilliantly in five Nation Junior Women’s Hockey Tournament held in Spain. Then again in 2016, the Indian women’s Hockey team won the bronze medal in the Under-18 Asia Cup held in Thailand.
A total of 14 goals were scored by India in the Under-18 Asia Cup, out of which eight were scored by Sangita alone.
Apart from this, due to her excellent performance in many other tournaments, she got selected in the Indian women’s Hockey team for the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Bholanath Singh, who sent TVs to Sangita’s house on Thursday, says he hopes that her parents and siblings will now be able to watch her live playing for India in Birmingham.