New Delhi : In the recent episode of Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series launched by Hockey India, Rising Indian star Mumtaz Khan opened up about her hockey journey and her hopes at the Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023.
The dashing forward was named the FIH Rising Star of 2021-2022 (Women) and also won the Hockey India Asunta Lakra Award for the year 2022.
Talking about her early journey, Mumtaz said, “My hockey journey started in school. Like most parents, my parents advised me to focus on my studies; They wanted me to be successful in life and saw sports as a distraction from my studies. But, there came a point when I couldn’t stand and watch my friends play and have fun, so I picked up a hockey stick and joined them in the game.”
Mumtaz was so driven by the sport that she used to cycle 10 kms daily to train at the KD Singh Babu Stadium in Lucknow to ensure that she got the best of facilities in her journey to become the best. Her coach, Neelam, helped her improve her positioning and finishing skills in front of goal, applauded her and stood firmly behind her in support.
She said, “My parents later came to know that I started playing in my school and they didn’t like it at first, but I couldn’t give up the steak anymore. I fell in love with the game. Initially my aim was to earn a job through hockey but my coach always believed that I can play for the country. The belief that I could represent India kept me motivated to join the Indian junior women’s hockey team.”
Mumtaz suffered an ACL injury in her left knee in 2019, which kept her out of action for a long time.
“The injury created a lot of apprehensions, I thought my career was over, there was a lot of parental pressure on him to quit hockey. There was a bit of outside pressure as well, my parents were told that I was flying a little too high and it was good that I was back on the field, I had learned my lesson now.”
Mumtaz recovered from her injury in time for the 2022 Women’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup in South Africa, where she was India’s top goal scorer with 8 goals and third highest overall.
He said, “My parents were very happy after the Junior World Cup. My mother said something later which I remember till today. He said that even though we do not have a son in our family, I have a daughter who is equal to a hundred sons, these words will always be deeply seated in my heart.
On the back of her impressive performance in the tournament, Mumtaz was also included in the squad for the Hero FIH Hockey 5S Lausanne 2022, where she scored five goals.
Mumtaz will next be in action during the upcoming Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023, which is a qualifying event for the FIH Junior Women’s World Cup. The prestigious event is set to begin on June 2 in Kakamigahara, Japan, and Mumtaz & Co. are hopeful and confident of returning home with a medal.
“We have been practicing for the Women’s Junior Asia Cup for the last 2-3 months, and we want to execute what we have been practicing and maintain our composure throughout the tournament to ensure that Come back with the medal. I know this is an opportunity for me to prove myself because everyone wants to represent India and win medals for the country, and I am no exception.”