The Indian women’s hockey team has made history this year when they qualified for Rio Olympics 2016 mission after 36 long years. Anuradha Thokchom, 27, is part of this piece of history. Achieving a berth at Rio was no mean feat for this talented hockey player who hails from a tiny hilly area called Toubul in Manipur
Thokchom Anuradha was born on February 2, 1989 at Toubal, Manipur and was brought up in a simple yet hardworking village family. Misfortune had dealt a stiff blow to Anuradha’s world after her parents separated and moved to different parts of the state. Her late father Thokchom Churamani Singh went to Imphal to make a living by pulling rickshaw and her mother Komalini Devi stayed at some other place. Anuradha was adopted by her grandparents and stayed with them at her village, her elder brother was left to the care of their maternal grandparents. Anuradha’s brother was a football player was popular among the village and district level, but he had to quit due to their family’s economic condition.
Anuradha started her career as a football player, but after playing football for a short period of time she converted to hockey under Toubul Youth Club. With the guidance of Bala from Imphal, Anuradha was admitted to Posterior Hockey Academy Manipur (PHAM) and began playing to becomes a professional hockey player. After playing for a year under PHAM, Anuradha was selected to SAI Gujarat in 2002. But very soon Anuradha left SAI Gujarat and joined PHAM again. Anuradha then participated in National level championships representing Manipur. This performance gave Anuradha the opportunity to show her talents. She was bent on making her presence felt in the world of hockey even as her own state has a penchant for football. She did and after the World League Semis, she was given a hero’s welcome in her hometown.
Today Anuradha Thokchom is a member of the Indian women’s national field hockey team. After many stints and performances at the national level, Anuradha played for India at the Women’s Asia Cup held at Japan from July 20 to 25 in 2006. This was her first International level performance. She was adjusted Best Player as she showed her techniques and skill as a forward in the championships. She is an experienced member of the Indian squad and has more than 80 international caps to her credit. Despite being just 26 years old, Anuradha has already made 8 senior appearances for the national team. So far, Anuradha has shown outstanding performance in various series including Hoax Bay Cup.
Anuradha is in the forward squad is known as the ‘golden girls of hockey’. The Indian team finished fifth in the League Semifinals and qualified to the Olympics after 36 years. The forward from Manipur has even scored in the 3-1 victory over Canada which happened to be India’s final match ahead of the all-important Rio Games. On qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics and overcoming all odds, she was all set to compete for the nation in the Rio Olympics.The reason behind the success of Thokchom Anuradha is the encouraging support she had received from her late father, brother and her locality. She is presently employed as a clerk in the Railways