New Delhi, Jan 2: Indian women's hockey team defender Sunita Lakra on Thursday announced her international retirement due to a knee injury which would require another surgery.
Sunita, who was part of the 2018 Asian Games silver-winning side said the nagging injury has come in the way of her dream to be a part of India's Tokyo Olympics campaign this year. "Today is a very emotional day for me as I have decided to retire from International Hockey, '' Lakra said in a statement issued by Hockey India. ''I was very fortunate to have played at the Rio Olympics in 2016, India's first appearance in over three decades. As much as I wish to be part of the Indian team as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, my knee injuries have cut short my dream, '' she added.
"I have been told by the doctors that I would be requiring another knee surgery in the coming days and I am unsure how long it would take before I fully recover," she explained. Lakra, who is the part of the Indian team since 2008, also captained India during the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, leading the side to a second-place finish in the event. In all, she played 139 matches for India and her achievements also included being part of the side that claimed the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal.
The 28-year-old also mentioned that after recovering, she would continue to play in domestic hockey tournaments. "Pursuant to my treatment, I will play domestic hockey and play for NALCO who have supported my career by providing me a job," she said. "I have come a long way in the sport and I carry with me some great memories with the Indian team who have stood strong by my side and the girls were always my family away from home," she added.
Sunita thanked her teammates and chief coach Sjoerd Marijne for their support. "My heartfelt thanks to Hockey India who ensured I was given the best treatment during my injury and I am grateful for their unparalleled support to women's hockey,'' she said. "My family, my husband and friends back in Odisha have been my strongest supporters and I wish to thank them for helping me pursue my passion for hockey. I could not have come this far without their encouragement," she added. (UNI)