Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam will be leading the Indian women’s hockey team when they make their comeback appearance at the Olympic stage after a hiatus of 36 years, next month at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Having just been handed the reins over from regular skipper Ritu Rani following a controversial exclusion of the latter from the national side, for the 24-year-old halfback from Manipur it would, no doubt, seem to be a mammoth task to perform.
With over a hundred senior appearances under her belt, Sushila certainly has the requisite experience in controlling matters from the backline, but with her being handed the captain’s role with less than a month to go for Rio 2016, quite a number of heads have been turned.
Although it’s the first time she will don the skipper’s armband for the Indian Eves, she was the central figure in India’s historic Bronze Medal win – defeating England in a penalty shootout – at the 2013 Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup held in Germany’s Monchengladbach. Therefore, Chanu is no stranger to leading teams at crucial stages in the international arena.
However, at the moment, the new captain is a figure of confidence. She is ready to rise to the occasion and has assured us of a positive show that would earn the Indian team at least a quarter-final berth after group stage victories over USA and Japan and a tight contest against Argentina.