Deep Grace Ekka was one of the four women hockey players from Odisha to be a part of the triumphant Indian team in the Asia Cup 2017 campaign. Ekka brought laurels for the country with her contribution which ensured team’s automatic qualification for the next year's World Cup scheduled at London. As the rising sports star continues to achieve new feats, she has set her sights on winning silverware on the biggest stage. OTV caught up with the Olympian centre-back in a one-on-one interview. Here are some excerpts.
How do you feel after winning the Asia Cup?
We played Asia Cup in 2013 in Malaysia and won bronze medal but we could not win gold. So that was a big disappointment and now since we have achieved that feat we are very happy.
How was the Chinese threat which has always been our biggest nemesis?
We used to lose most of the times against China but this year we defied their challenge during the league and also in the grand finale. Chinese counterparts are very strong and we have learnt not to be intimidated by their challenge again.
Sports career is definitely full of hardships. How has been the journey so far?
Playing hockey is my passion and it has been since my childhood days when I started my schooling in Lulkidihi. I have never looked back. I am also grateful to my brother for all the support. Since he is also a hockey player, I have always learnt a lot and drawn inspiration from him.
Who do you give credit for all the success that you have achieved of late?
I will give all the credit to my father for all the success that I have achieved because it is due to him that I got admission into a sports hostel.
What are your aspirations for the senior World Cup event and how do you look to prepare for that?
We have set our eyes on three big upcoming tournaments including the senior World Cup in 2018. Keeping that in mind we are practicing and training hard. We will try to win gold and upkeep the honour of our country.