Adelaide: Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka achieved a special milestone of completing 250 International Caps on Saturday when she took the field for the second match of the ongoing India’s tour of Australia in Adelaide.
The 28-year-old, who hails from Lulkidihi village in Sundargarh district, made her International debut in 2011 during the Four-Nation Tournament in Argentina and since then, she has been an integral part of the national team.
From the SAI-SAG Centre in Odisha, Deep Grace Ekka doubles up as defender and penalty corner specialist. She was part of the Indian team that took part in Rio Olympic Games — Indian eves’ first appearance since 1980 and Tokyo Olympics 2020.
She was also an integral part of the team that won the Bronze Medal at the Women’s Asia Cup 2013, Gold at 2016 Asian Champions Trophy, Gold in the Asia Cup in 2017, Silver at the Asian Champions Trophy in 2018, Silver in 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang and the Bronze in Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The defender also played a key role in India’s Gold Medal win at the inaugural FIH Women’s Nations Cup in Spain in 2022.
“I feel extremely proud to have represented the nation for 250 International matches. For me, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to bring joy and honour for my country by doing something that I truly love. I still get goosebumps whenever I step on the field to play for my country. The journey so far with the Indian team has been wonderful to say the least,” stated Arjuna Award winner Deep Grace Ekka, who has been nothing less than an inspiration for several young players from her state.
“Special thanks to Hockey India and Odisha State Government for always showing faith in me and supporting me in every way possible. I hope that we as a team reach greater heights and continue to make our nation proud,” she said.
Meanwhile, congratulating Grace, as she is fondly called by her teammates, President Hockey India Padma Shri Dilip Tirkey said, “I would like to congratulate Deep Grace Ekka on completing 250 International Caps for India. She is a player who not only brings stability to India’s defence but also plays an important role of a penalty corner specialist. Her contribution during the 12 years since making her debut has been immense and has seen her win many medals. I would like to wish Ekka the very best for the future and hope that she continues her pursuit of bringing laurels to the country.”