Savita Punia. (Credit: Twitter)
Savita is ready to endure a temporary forced separation from her spouse as national duty gains precedence over everything else for the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team, who gunning for gold at the Asian Games.
“Sometimes I have many things to share with my husband but different time zones makes it so difficult to have lengthy conversations,” Savita Punia shares the difficulties of a newly-wed in a long distance relationship with her NRI husband Ankit Balhara.
But then Savita is ready to endure this temporary forced separation as national duty gains precedence over everything else for the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team, who wouldn’t settle for anything less than a yellow metal at the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games and a direct qualification for Paris Olympics.
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Savita was back in national camp five days after her marriage, had to abort honeymoon plans and also avoid long face-time calls with her Canada-based husband in order to avoid fatigue after a rigorous training schedule.
“I got married on April 5 but joined the national camp five days after my marriage. I have hardly a week with my new family since then. Skipped the honeymoon and now it (honeymoon) will happen only after next year’s Olympics only,” said the ace goalkeeper in an interview to PTI Bhasha.
“I am planning a whirlwind visit to Vancouver in December where my in-laws are based provided we don’t have any tournament or Pro League that time,” she added.
Her husband Ankit is a software engineer and music composer who has composed background music for many Bollywood movies. They do not talk much over phone due to different time zones and her rigorous training schedules.
“I get up early in the morning as we have practice sessions. My husband is in Canada so time zones are different . Sometimes I have many things to share with him but I have decided to switch my phone off by 10.30 pm. I tell him to stop me, if I keep on talking beyond that,” she said.
These are sacrifices that a multi-tasking working woman playing elite sports has to make. For now, Savita has made the choice as she doesn’t want to relive that fateful afternoon in Tokyo, when she wept inconsolably after India lost the bronze medal play-off at the Olympics.
Paris will be her last shot at Olympic glory and Asian Games the first pit stop towards her ultimate goal.
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“Expectations are high this time after our performance in Tokyo. We will leave no stone unturned to fulfill the dream of an Olympic medal,” she said.
Savita had an arranged marriage and her mother in law Mukta Chaudhry, a state level champion athlete herself, selected her during the Tokyo Olympics only. She wants her to fulfill all her dreams as a sportsperson which she couldn’t.
“My mother-in-law is very supportive and says marriage should not affect my dream to win an Olympic medal for the country. She was a talented athlete herself and understands me very well. I am very lucky to have a supportive and understanding family.”
Savita has two Asian Games medal, a bronze and a silver but this time, she doesn’t want anything to come between her and the elusive gold medal.
“I am enjoying my game and want to play till I am able to give my hundred percent to the team. I have bronze and silver medals in Asian games but now I want a yellow metal too. Hockey has given me everything and I am very passionate about this game . The hunger to win is still the same,” the 33-year-old signed off.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)