Hockey India News

Savita Punia: Left honeymoon, joined the team

  • September 16, 2023
  • 3 min read
Savita Punia: Left honeymoon, joined the team
The captain of the Indian women’s hockey team had come for training for the country on the fifth day of her marriage. Under the leadership of Savita, the Indian women’s hockey team had reached fourth place in the Olympics in Tokyo.

Indian women’s hockey captain Savita Punia, who is targeting the Paris Olympics, returned to the camp on the fifth day after her marriage in April, did not go on honeymoon and due to different time zones, there is less talk on phone with her husband settled abroad. Gets it. Savita, the experienced goalkeeper of the Indian women’s hockey team, who created history by finishing fourth in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, aims to make up for the medal deficit in Paris next year and for this she is not shying away from making any sacrifices.

Savita said, ‘I want to fulfill the shortcomings of Tokyo in Paris. I got married on April 5 this year but since then I have been with my husband only for seven days. We have not even gone to the honeymoon and can now think only after the Olympics.

She said, ‘I came to the camp just five days after the marriage. I am thinking of going in December but if there is Pro League or any other tournament, I will not be able to go.

Savita’s husband Ankit Balhara is a software engineer as well as a musician and has given background scores in many Bollywood films. Ankit’s family, originally from Rohtak, is settled in Vancouver, Canada.

The Indian captain said, ‘I wake up early in the morning. My husband is in Vancouver and we have different time zones but I turn off the phone at 10:30. I have told him that even if I insist on talking, he will remind me to switch off the phone because there is practice the next morning. Many times I feel like talking a lot but I have promised myself to keep my screen time to a minimum till sports.

Savita Punia said, ‘We had an arranged marriage and it was my mother-in-law (Mukta Chaudhary) who liked me, who herself has been a state level champion athlete in Haryana three times. He watched all our matches in Tokyo Olympics and took the matter forward by liking me there.

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Describing her mother-in-law as her source of inspiration, Savita said, ‘She believes that the position for which she has worked so hard to reach should not be affected by marriage. I have full support from my in-laws otherwise it would have been difficult for me.

This experienced goalkeeper, who has played nearly 200 matches for India, said, ‘My mother-in-law’s dreams as a player remained unfulfilled and she does not want anything like this to happen to me. They are more excited than me about the Asian Games.

Born in Sirsa, Haryana, Savita made her international hockey debut for the senior team in 2011. Was part of the team that won bronze in Incheon (2014) and silver in Asian Games in Jakarta (2018).

Savita Punia also played an important role in the Indian team qualifying for the Rio Olympics after 36 years. He gave India a place in the World Cup by saving the decisive penalty in the penalty shootout against China in the Asia Cup 2018.

Photo By Yuva Hariyana

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