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From Dreams to Reality: Sanjana Horo charting her own path on hockey field

19-year-old Sanjana Horo, playing for Bengal, scored 13 goals in the recently concluded Senior Women National Championship to finish the tournament as the second-highest goalscorer.

From Dreams to Reality: Sanjana Horo charting her own path on hockey field

Sanjana Horo scored 13 goals in the recently concluded Senior Women's National Championship in Pune. (Photo credit: Hockey India)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 26 March 2024 5:48 AM GMT

Sanjana Horo emerged as the second-highest goalscorer at the recently concluded 14th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship. She finished behind Deepika from Haryana with 13 goals to her credit.

Sanjana's campaign, however, ended in the quarterfinals with Bengal losing to Madhya Pradesh.

The 19-year-old, who hails from Jharkhand, is known for her eye-grabbing stick work and clinical finishes.

Born and raised in Jharkhand, Sanjana was introduced to the sport of hockey at the tender age of nine.

Surrounded by the hilly landscapes of her homeland, Sanjana found solace and passion in the rhythmic flow of the game. Fuelled by determination and guided by unwavering support from her family members, she honed her skills on rugged grounds.

Recalling her early days, she said, “I used to see kids playing hockey outside of my school. I was in class six at that time. At first, it was not something which attracted me. But once my elder brother started playing, my father, who himself played hockey, told me to give it a try and there was no looking back after that. Slowly and steadily, my game started to improve."

"In 2014, I gave trials for Ranchi zilla and got selected. I was there for two years. After that, I gave trials for SAI Ranchi and got selected. I stayed there for a year but due to unavailability of grounds there, some of us were transferred to Bengal SAI," added Sanjana, suggesting the reason why she plays for Bengal in domestic tournaments.

Sanjana burst onto the scene after her impressive outing at the 13th Junior Women National Championship in 2023, held at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, Odisha.

Sanjana, who led Bengal in the tournament, scored 11 goals, which included seven field goals and four from penalty corners.

During the Senior Women National Championship this year, Sanjana emerged as a beacon of excellence. With lightning speed and precision, she carved her path through defenders, leaving everyone awestruck.

As the second-highest goal scorer of the tournament, she etched her name in the books, a testament to her unwavering determination and skill.

Speaking about her experience of playing in the Senior Women National Championship, the forward said, “It was an amazing experience. Playing with all the senior players like Savita, Salima, and Sangita, one can learn a lot. You can learn a lot from just observing their game. Their style of playing, mental strength and game tactics are at par.”

Sanjana considers Indian women's team forward Sangita Kumari as her role model.

During the Senior Women National Championship in Pune, the teenager got an opportunity to interact with Sangita.

Expressing her delight in meeting her idol, Sanjana said, “I have always considered Sangita didi as my role model. I want to be like her. I am impressed with her dribbling skills, speed, and her finishing skills. I want to imbibe these qualities. I talked to her about my game and where I could improve. She gave me some valuable feedback and I will surely work on that.”

Despite her meteoric rise, Sanjana has faced her share of challenges along the way.

Talking about the struggles, she said, “When I started playing hockey, the price of hockey sticks was expensive. I used to play with wooden hockey sticks which my father used to buy for me. Since the condition of the ground was poor, the wooden hockey sticks used to get damaged pretty fast. I used to change my stick after every three months. My father was in the Army but he is retired now. So, there were financial issues at times but my family always supported me and I give all the credit to my family members for making me who I am today.”

As Sanjana stands on the cusp of a promising future, she harbours dreams of representing India on the international stage and inspiring future generations of young hockey enthusiasts.

“It is a player’s dream to represent their country at the highest level. I want to don the Indian jersey and bring laurels and accolades for India,” she signed off.

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