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There have been multiple young goalkeepers representing the Indian Women's team front over the years but the current front runner, purely based on performances is Bichu Devi Kharibam.
The heart-breaking loss to England, who held their nerve to snatch a victory from the Indian Junior Women in the third/ fourth placing match, is now behind them and the players are now looking forward to their exposure with the Senior side, says Bichu Devi Kharibam, the star goalie who was the cynosure of Indian defence at the prestigious quadrennial event. "We were all very upset after that match and some of us could not stop crying. We were so close to standing on the podium and it was quite hard to accept the defeat," said Bichu recalling the moment when they lost the shootout after ending regulation time in 2-2 stalemate.
However, with the national camps resuming in SAI, Bengaluru, the players have left behind the bitterness of that defeat. "We have moved on. The senior players spoke to us after that match and even Chief Coach Janneke (Schopman) gave us a talk on how it's important to now move on and focus on the positive learnings from that tournament," added Bichu.
"We also received so much love after we came back and many hockey fans messaged us personally and told us how we have to keep our chins up. It is very overwhelming to receive this kind of reaction despite losing the medal. This motivates us more to do well," expressed an emotional Bichu.
The youngster has been one of the stand out keepers in the national circle and being a young well-performing player has elevated her status even more.
Bichu has emerged as one of the best keepers in the country, and not without reason. Her super quick reflexes, and amazing point blank saves make her a tough one to have in goal. Another important, but underrated trait, is his ability to come and claim the ball with confidence and without ambiguity.
Bichu Devi along with some of her teammates including Junior Women's Vice Captain Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Sangita Kumari among others have been credited for their performance with a place in the Senior Core group. The Senior Women, who finished on top of the pool table following their home games, are now preparing for the upcoming matches in FIH Hockey Pro League in Europe and the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup in Netherlands and Spain.
"We are looking at this as a new beginning and want to learn from this exposure with the Senior camp. We have begun our preparations for the upcoming Pro League matches and the World Cup and my focus is on executing as per what is expected of me and I want to prove myself, work hard to find a place in the team," she concluded.