Ever since the news came that the Indian junior womens team claimed bronze medal with a 3-2 win through penalty shoot-out against England in the Junior World Cup in Germany on Sunday evening,coach Manjeet Kaur at the Sector 18 Chandigarh Girls Hockey Academy has been getting calls from former players and coaches. And the coachs excitement is evident since two of her former trainees,Monika Malik and Ritusha Arya,both 19,are members of the victorious Indian team.
Both the players graduated from the Sector 18 Girls Hockey Academy and trained under Kaur and coach Rajendra Singh. Monika scored a goal in Indias 4-2 win over Spain in the quarters while Ritusha scored a goal in Indias 10-1 win over Russia in the league stage.
I am happy for the two girls. Both have been training at our academy and have done the country proud. Both Monika and Ritusha are known to be attacking players and they showed that in the tournament, said coach Manjeet Kaur.
Monika,whose father is a head constable with Chandigarh Police,graduated from the academy in 2011. Ritusha,who belongs to Allhabad,graduated last year before she joined the Centre of Excellence at Bhopal,Madhya Pradesh. While Monika and Ritusha both featured in the Chandigarh teams third-place finish in the Junior Nationals in Sonepat in 2011,Ritusha also featured in the second-place finish in last years nationals held at Sonepat too. I accompanied the teams to the nationals as well as other tournaments. And both of them were eager to learn at the junior level. Monika was playing in her third international tournament and Ritusha was playing in her second,but the girls showed a lot of maturity. They were also part of the Chandigarh team which won the title in the 2009 School National Games held at Chhattisgarh, said the coach.
Monikas father Takdeer Singh Malik,who shifted to Chandigarh from his native village Gumri near Gohana in Sonepat district due to his job,believes that the bronze-medal finish will inspire Monika to do well at the senior level too. She started playing hockey at our village and then she joined the Chandigarh Academy. Most of the time,she used to stay at the hostel due to training and would practise at the Sector 18 stadium too. Nowadays she trains at Shahbad,Haryana. Last year,she also led the Kurukshtra University to inter-university title and was also part of the Indian team which finished third in Junior Asia Cup in Bangkok, said Takdeer Singh.