The 26-year-old has been a key member of the Indian team over the last few years.
Indian women’s hockey team midfielder Nikki Pradhan has been part of many memorable moments for the national side which includes the gold medal win at the Women’s Asia Cup 2017, victory at the FIH Women’s Series Finals 2019 and booking a place for the Tokyo Olympics after defeating USA in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers last year.
Nikki Pradhan, who has played over 100 matches for the Indian team, recalled her time at the Bariatu Girls’ Hockey Center in Ranchi, where she learned the techniques of hockey.
She recollected, “The time I spent at the Bariatu Girls’ Hockey Center is always going to remain special for me. I picked up the sport of hockeyPractisingg age, but I learned most of the techniques of the sport at the centre when I joined in 2005. Practising and learning at the centre laid a good foundation for me and I kept building on the skills, I developed there as I moved forward in my career. I was very fortunate to take up hockey seriously at a place like that.”
Nikki Pradhan expressed that India’s present experienced midfielders group will hold the key in the big tournaments in the upcoming years. She remarked, “We are very lucky to have so many midfielders in the Indian team, who have already played 100 matches for the national side.”
“Experience is a huge factor when it comes to big tournaments like the Olympics and if we play at our hundred percent then we can win against any team. Experience teaches one to be calm and think clearly under pressure and therefore our experienced midfielders group will be the key to our success in the upcoming years.”
The midfielder is the first woman hockey player from Jharkhand to represent India in the Olympics. She spoke about her experience at the quadrennial event. Nikki Pradhan stated, “It was fantastic to take part in the Rio Olympics. Just being around the top athletes from all over the world was something else. The Indian women’s hockey team made it to the Olympics after 36 years so it was a huge moment for us. However, it was disappointing to come back without a victory.”
“But it didn’t deter us from trying harder and Hockey India has shown tremendous faith in us over all the good and bad times. Hockey India has constructed the best pitches for practice and international matches and instilled the belief in us that we can take on any top side in the world. It inspires us to perform every time we step on the field,” she concluded.