Ratnagarbha land of Jharkhand, known by the nickname of Rural of India, is famous for minerals as well as sports talents. Tribal women hockey players of tribal-dominated Jharkhand have proved their talent at the international level on the strength of physical ability, hard work, discipline, tolerance and passion. Jharkhand has been famous as the ‘nursery of women’s hockey’ for the last four decades. Jharkhand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy is its hallmark. While Olympian Salima Tete became the ‘Player of the Tournament’, forward player Sangeeta Kumari was the ‘Rising Player of the Tournament’, scoring the most six goals for the country. Salima is a resident of Badkichapar and Sangeeta is a resident of Karangaguri village in Simdega district. The state’s first female hockey Olympian Nikki Pradhan of Hesal (Khunti) and Beauty Dungdung of Karangaguri were also included in the team.
When birthday boy Virat Kohli equaled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most centuries by scoring his 49th century at Eden, there was a huge crowd of hockey lovers in Ranchi’s Morhabadi. There was a presence of 12 thousand in the stadium with a capacity of seven thousand and a crowd of about 20 thousand spectators outside the stadium. The madness of the audience was worth seeing. A hockey legend commented that there is no such passion for women’s hockey anywhere else in the world. International Hockey Federation President Tayyab Ikram and Hockey India President Padmashree Dilip Tirkey also praised the spectators. Jharkhand government left no stone unturned in making the event a success. Jharkhand has also got the hosting rights of Hockey Qualifier in January next year. On the basis of this competition, three teams will be given entry for the Paris Olympics. Jharkhand is moving towards becoming the ‘Mecca’ of women’s hockey from the ‘nursery of women’s hockey’.
Since the time of undivided Bihar, women hockey players from Khunti, Simdega Gumla and Ranchi have registered their strong presence on the national stage. An excellent example of this is the Government Girls High School (now CM School of Excellence Girls, Bariatu), which has produced more than five dozen international women hockey players. This includes Olympian Nikki Pradhan, senior team captain Sumrai Tete and Asunta Lakra, junior team captain Daymani Soy, Helen Soy, Asrita Lakra, Pushpa Topno and Pushpa Pradhan. Hockey is deeply ingrained in the life of the tribal community of Jharkhand. Hockey tournaments are also organized on a large scale in the remote rural areas of Khunti, Simdega, Gumla and Ranchi. Formally, women’s hockey is considered to have started from 1974-75.
The Bihar government had formed the State Sports Council to identify and nurture sports talent. In the year 1975-76, hockey training centers for tribal girls were established in Government Girls High School, Ranchi and Ursuline School, Gumla. Kulwant Singh selected 33 girls for training under the first batch. Players started showing their talent in All India Rural Sports, All India School Sports and All India Women’s Mahotsav, but due to the absence of a hockey association, these players were not able to get a place in the national team.
After the Delhi Asiad in 1982, Awadhesh Kumar, BN Prasad, Mo Mohiuddin, Mridula Sinha and R Lal Chairman established the Bihar Women’s Hockey Association. In the same year, six players – Dayamani Soy, Alma Gudiya, Salomi Bhengra, Amarmani Kullu, Sumitra Kujur and Savitri Purti were invited to the national camp, with Savitri Purti being selected as Jharkhand-Bihar’s first international player for the Indian women’s hockey team. Was done in. The sequence that started after that is continuing unabated.
Coach Narendra Singh Saini gave flight to the women hockey players of Jharkhand. During his tenure, Bariatu Hockey Center reached the pinnacle of success. 42 players received training from him and represented the country at the international level. It includes Sumrai Tete, Masira Surin, Adeline Kerketta, Rajkumari Banara, Fardina Ekka, Maristella Tirkey, Bimla Kujur, Pushpa Topno, Sukro Sanga, Pushpa Pradhan, Amrita Minz, Sushila Lakda, Anarita Kerketta, Phoolmani Soy, Guddi Kumari, Marita Tirkey, Asunta Includes wood.
A unique record is registered in the name of Simdega. Three players from Jharkhand – Salima Tete, Beauty Dungdung and Sangeeta Kumari – were included in the Indian team announced for the FIH Junior World Cup Women’s Hockey competition in the year 2021. If there is encouragement at village and block level, good coaches, nutrition and modern training at Panchayat and district level, then Jharkhand can become a hub of sports.