Rashmi Rekha Das

Like most tribal children, national hockey player Sunita Lugun took to hockey from early childhood.  Because all she ever wanted in her life was to make her country proud by representing at international hockey matches. 

However, destiny had some other plans for her. Instead of playing hockey matches, she ended up picking shovel to work as a migrant labourer to run her family battling abject poverty.

Once a star player of national hockey team, Sunita had to leave Odisha to work as a daily wage earner in Tamil Nadu. 

When her situation turned from hope to that of despair, she never thought she would ever make a comeback and play with the stick.  

But now her fans will be happy to know that the star player is back to show her magic on the field.

Yes, she will be seen in the HAO Senior Women Hockey Championships 2022 being held at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. 

Her happiness knew no bounds when she was called back to lead the Sambalpur team participating in the hockey championships. 

In a tete-a-tete with OTV, Sunita opened up about her struggle life.

Poverty-stricken Sunita quit playing hockey and left to Tamil Nadu to run her family. She was getting Rs 280 per day. Just for the sake of her family, she ignored herself. Playing hockey for team India became next to impossible thing for her. Even, she could not think of holding the hockey stick in her life anymore.

Thanks to Secretary of Sahid Madho Singh Hockey Academy Lakhmidhar Mohanty, Sunita is all to start her new innings again. Mohanty recognised her talent and called her back to play hockey again. 

Recollecting her anecdote, Sunita said, “I regret that even after playing national matches I failed to get job because I belong to a poor family.  I left to Tamil Nadu and worked as a migrant labourer to look after my mother and four siblings. I used to send money to my mother after keeping a little amount for me. I am really happy that I have made a comeback.”
Sahid Madho Singh, Hockey Academy is now giving training to such talents so that they can prove themselves in national and international level."

Lakhmmidhar Mohanty said, “When I came to know that Sunita without getting hockey coaching and training had played national by defeating sports hostel girls, I started searching for her. From my colleague Bimal I came to know that Sunita was settled in Chennai. We finally traced her and chose her as captain of Sambalpur team.”

Reported by Chandan Paikray, OTV