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Father’s support tailors Nisha’s hockey journey to Tokyo

Indian hockey midfielder Nisha. Photo: Hockey India

Bengaluru, July 2 (MNN) Poised for Olympic debut, Indian women’s hockey midfielder Nisha is living her sporting dream, but hasn’t forgotten her father’s hard work and guidance has fueled her sporting journey this far.

“My father — who works as a tailor in a retail store in our hometown Sonipat in Haryana — always dreamed of seeing me play for India and even though he toiled day in and day out to ensure three meals a day for our family, he never discouraged me from playing hockey. He somehow managed to keep aside a few hundred rupees that would help me travel for a tournament,” recalled Nisha, who is one of the eight debutants in the Rani-led Indian squad at the games.

“The financial condition of the family was not such that I could pursue a sport, but I was determined to face the odds and my father’s unconditional support allowed me to play,” she emphasised.

“Now, through hockey I am confident I will be able to support my family financially and bring them out of poverty,” she said.

Having made her international debut against Uruguay in the 2019 FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima, Nisha has been a relatively new addition to the Indian team.

However, her fiery attitude on the field has won her a place in the Olympic-bound Indian team. “Since my debut in Hiroshima, I have been getting the right exposure and opportunity to prove myself and I feel very fortunate that I was picked in the squad for Tokyo Olympics. Very few people get to live this dream so early in their international careers,” said an elated Nisha.

With only weeks left before the Indian team take on world number 1 Netherlands in their first group match, Nisha said that the 16-member Indian squad is focusing on speed that will ensure they will peak at the right time.

“With only weeks left before we leave for Tokyo, we are putting in all the hard work required and all of us in the team are pushing each other to perform better in every session. I am glad to be part of such a system where the entire coaching staff is also pumped up to see that we peak at the right time. There is a lot of excitement within the team and all of us are looking forward to our first match against the World Champions Netherlands.”

Nisha’s teammate Neha Goyal is also part of the Olympic-bound team and played a big role in ensuring Nisha picked up the hockey stick. “We grew up together and our mothers worked in the same factory. It was Neha who started taking me to the hockey field and once I picked up the stick, there was no looking back,” reminisced Nisha.

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