Updated: Jul 19
Hockey legend Sushila Chanu is thrilled that on July 3, when India plays England in their first Pool B match here, she will finally make her World Cup debut.
The Manipur-born midfielder missed the chance to participate in the 2018 World Cup due to injury, despite having played 208 appearances for his country, representing India in back-to-back Olympic Games, and winning a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Due to an injury in 2018, I was unable to participate in the World Cup in London. I then experienced form issues, which caused me to miss that year's Asian Games in Jakarta. It was possibly one of my career's lowest points. Sushila remarked on Wednesday, "It was a challenging phase, but I was determined to get through it and reclaim my spot in the squad.
Sushila returned with a bang and has played a significant role in the team's development over the past four years after missing the 2018 Asian Gamespractice when India won silver, and the World Cup the same year, where India made the quarterfinals.
She contributed to India's triumph at both the FIH Olympic Qualifying tournament and the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar. She also had a significant role in the Tokyo Olympics, and in 2021, she was a member of India's lineup for the Women's Asia Cup.
While playing for India in the FIH Women's Pro League 2021/22, where India finished third, Sushila earned her 200th international cap.
I'm thrilled to have the chance to represent India at the World Cup, and I'm extremely glad about it. It's their second World Cup appearance for many of my teammates, but it's my first. I know it will be a memorable event for us, and it's an emotional moment for me," she remarked outside the team's practice match against Chile in Amstelveen.
Sushila described the atmosphere in the team's camp before the match against England: "We arrived in Amstelveen shortly after our Pro League matches concluded in Rotterdam last week. We've had enough time to get settled in the team accommodation and to get to the World Cup site for training.
Undoubtedly, everyone is fired up and eager to give it their all. The Netherlands is an excellent hockey arena, and the hosts have provided the competing teams with a tremendous atmosphere. A strong start against England is what we need since we are all looking forward to our first game, added Chanu.