New Delhi, 02 October 2019: Indian Women's Hockey Team's fourth match of their Tour of England against the Great Britain side marked a special occasion for experienced Defender Deep Grace Ekka who achieved the milestone of completing 200 International Caps for her country. The 25-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.
Ekka was a part of the Bronze Medal-winning Indian team which took part in the U18 Girls Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, and her strong performances there led her to becoming a regular fixture in the National Camp. 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 Core Probables, Deep Grace Ekka doubles up as drag-flicker and Defender, having come up with winning performances at the 9th Women’s Asia Cup in Japan 2017. She was part of the team that won the Bronze Medal at the Women's Asia Cup 2013, and the Gold Medal at the Women's Asia Cup 2017. 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. The Defender also played a key role in India's Silver Medal win at the Asian Champions Trophy in 2018.
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, and a Silver Medal from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. One of the key defenders of the Indian squad, Deep Grace had completed 150 International matches last year during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. “It is a proud moment for me to have represented my country 200 times now. I had only dreamed about such a day, and to be completing 200 International Caps today gives me a great feeling. It has been a memorable journey with the Indian team, and I wish we continue to build on our recent performances as a team, and qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. Playing against a strong Great Britain team has given us confidence, and we will be looking to take this into our FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha to be held in my native state,” stated the experienced Deep Grace Ekka.
Congratulating Grace, as she is fondly called by her teammates, Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, President, Hockey India said, “I would like to congratulate Deep Grace Ekka for completing 200 International Caps for the nation. Odisha has truly produced some of the finest hockey players in the country and Ekka remains one of those significant players. She has been an integral part of the Indian Team since her debut in 2011, 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. My best wishes to her on this occasion.”