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Munmuni Das, toast of the Khelo . India U-21 Women’s Hockey Federation

Munmuni Das, just 16, is one of the most eye-catching players in the ongoing Khelo India Under-21 Hockey League. Playing for the Odisha Navy Tata Hockey Performance Center, Munmuni Das scored three goals in four games, but what stood out was her talent.

Hailing from the Tinsukia district of Assam, Munmuni Das is the one directly leading the matches. The young ace dedicates all her achievements to her late father Kaliya Das, who supported the hockey player in her early years.

“I started playing hockey in 2015 while looking at the senior boys in the school. Since then, I have had a passion for playing this sport. However, the people of my village in Assam never supported hockey or any sport in particular. As a girl, it is impossible not to pursue sports. However, I did start playing in a way and after a few months, continuing to play in the federation I was selected to be part of the Sports Authority of India Center in Kokrajhar in 2017. ‘ said Munmuni.

Read: India U-21 Women’s Hockey League Khelo: SAI coach praises junior scout’s progress

Munmuni Das recalls the hardships of her late father, who was a salesman, but never let his career get in the way of his daughter’s dreams.

“My father, who passed away a year ago, has been very supportive of me. I can’t even afford a hockey stick but Dad usually arranges it. He is a salesman. It was difficult for him to support me, my mother and my sister with my studies, family and play needs. But he never hesitated to help me. I will never forget the role he played in helping me get to where I am today,” she added.

Read: Khelo India star Deepika outlines plans to represent Hockey India at Paris Olympics

Munmuni Das’ three goals to date have all been on the field and her contribution to the team has been outstanding since the first game of the tournament. Commenting on the team’s solidarity, she said:

“I had the opportunity to try out at Naval Tata Odisha in 2019 and I have been here ever since. Everyone in our team comes from different Countries. Having said that, we have a very good team relationship, we always encourage each other during the matches and our synergy is very good. We support each other whenever there is a mistake. We do not have any discrimination in our hostel, be it because of religion or other issues. We are very friendly and our coach behaves like our family. We also organize festivals of all faiths in our academy”.

Munmuni Das and Ashima Rout – a partner to find

Munmuni Das and Ashima Rout, another key player for the team, have scored four goals so far, making Naval Tata Odisha’s matches even more beautiful. The duo forged a good partnership on the front lines and worked well together.

“Ashima is like my little sister. Whenever there is a mistake, we discuss it after the game and always look forward to strengthening ourselves before the next game. We only worry about making our team win,” Munmuni Das said of Ashima.

From being the only girl in the village to play hockey and coming home late at night through desolate forests after cycling nearly six kilometers, Munmuni Das has come a long way. Now there is only one goal she is aiming for.

“My dad’s dream was to see me as an Olympic athlete. To achieve that, I want to be as big a player as possible and want to give 100 per cent every time I go on the pitch,” concluded Munmuni Das.

Also read: Hockey India to participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games



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Aila Slisco

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