Dribbling Past Odds: Hockey star Vandana Katariya wins battles on and off the field

New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) Born to Dalit parents, Vandana Katariya had to endure snide remarks about her caste since childhood but even then it was hard to imagine that people would burst crackers in-front of her home in Roshnabad area of Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district after India lost Olympics semi-final to Argentina.

Vandana was still in Tokyo but a man called Vijay Pal and his friends were dancing in-front of her house and hurling casteist abuses at her family members.

The man was arrested but she showed one and all, how difficult it is to rise through the ranks and wear national colours where deft stick work to outwit the opposition isn’t the only criteria for success.

One also needs to learn to dribble past racism, casteism, poverty and social taboos that never quite stops chasing the shadows.

On Tuesday, Vandana will do that imaginary spadework past all hindrances for the 300th time when she will take the field against Japan in the women’s Asian Champions Trophy.

Vandana always dreamt of becoming a hockey player since childhood. But she had to beat social stereotypes like grandmother’s wish to learn household chores and get settled.

Every rising star needs a hero and for Vandana, it was her father Nahar Singh Katariya – her pillar of strength.

Nahar, who was a wrestler himself, fully backed her daughter and went against the society and his family to help Vandana pursue her career in sports.

“My father used to run here and there to arrange money so that I can continue to play hockey. I don’t have any idea from where he got the money for my stay in sports hostel. There were seeds of doubt at times whether I would ever be good enough to support my family but my father never stopped believing in me,” Vandana had told

Source: PTI News


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