Indian women's hockey team defender Sunita Lakra announced her international retirement on Thursday, citing a knee injury which would require another surgery.
The 28-year-old, who played a key role for the 2018 Asian Games silver-winning side, revealed that the nagging knee injury has forced her to let go of her dream to be a part of India's Tokyo Olympics campaign this year.
"Today is a very emotional day for me as I have decided to retire from International Hockey. I had been part of this wonderful journey with the Indian Women's Hockey Team since 2008 and through this journey, we have seen many ups and downs but we remained as one unit, giving each other the strength and motivation to remain strong and fight all the odds to excel and bring laurels to the country," Lakra said in a statement released by Hockey India.
She added how fortunate she was to have been a part of the Rio Olympics 2016. "I was very fortunate to have played at the Rio Olympics in 2016, India's first appearance in over 3 decades. Many people told me it was a historic moment for women's hockey in India but I always believed this team can achieve so much more. As much as I wish to be part of the Indian team as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, my knee injuries have cut short my dream," said Lakra.
Doctors have told Lakra that she would be requiring another knee surgery in the coming days. It is uncertain how long it would take before she can fully recover. But Lakra does not want to give up the sport entirely, she will keep playing domestic hockey and play for NALCO once she can take the field.