Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s second match at the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games against Malaysia marked a special occasion for experienced Defender Deep Grace Ekka who achieved the milestone of completing 150 International Caps for her country.
The 23-year-old from Lulkidihi village in Sundargarh district made her International debut for the national team in 2011 during the Four-Nation Tournament in Argentina.
Her place in international hockey was backed by strong performances in the U18 Girls Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand where they won a Bronze Medal. She was also part of the Junior squad’s historic Bronze Medal feat at the 2013 Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup in Germany.
As part of the Senior Squad, Deep Grace doubles up as drag-flicker and defender having come up with winning performances at the 9th Women’s Asia Cup in Japan last year.
She was part of the team that won Bronze in the previous edition of Asia Cup in 2013. She was also part of the Indian team that won the Asian Champions Trophy in 2016 and was a key player in the team’s Silver Medal feat in 2013 Asian Champions Trophy.
From the SAI-SAG Centre in Odisha, Deep Grace has been an inspiration for several young players from her state. To her credit, she also has a Bronze Medal from the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Ahead of her participation at the 2016 Rio Olympics as one of the key defenders of the Indian squad, Deep Grace had completed 100 International matches during the Four Nation Women Tournament at Darwin, Australia.
“I am very happy and emotional about completing 150 matches.
It has been a memorable journey so far and I wish we continue to build on our recent performances as a team and work towards achieving our team goals this year.
The biggest target this year is to win the Asian Games and directly qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games, but we start our journey by aiming for the best here at the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games,” stated the experienced Deep Grace Ekka.
Congratulating Grace, as she is fondly called by her teammates, Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “Odisha has truly produced some of the finest hockey players in the country and Deep Grace Ekka remains one of those significant players.
She has been an integral part of the Indian Team since her debut and continues to be a strong wall in the Indian Team’s defence. She is mentally tough and never gives up easily. I wish she continues her pursuit of bringing laurels to the country. Best of luck.”