As people across the world prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we heard from members of the international hockey community from across all five hockey-playing continents. Via videoed messages to athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans, the five people – all prominent within the world of hockey – spoke with heartfelt honesty about the strong women who have proven influential and supportive to them throughout their hockey journeys.
Today’s message comes from a nation with a great hockey tradition, India. With the women’s team preparing to compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, after a strong qualification campaign, there is great hope that the women’s national team is on an upwards trajectory that will prove inspirational to generations of girls and young women – both within the sport and in wider society.
Speaking in Hindi, Neha Goyal, a 24-year-old athlete who has more than 75 caps for the national women’s team, has the following message to share:
“Hello everyone, my name is Neha, a member of the Indian Women's Hockey Team.
“I have been inspired by two great women in my life. The first is my mother and the other is my childhood coach, Pritam Siwach.
“My mother had to greatly struggle to ensure I have this life today. I lost my father at a very young age. Me and my three sisters were left behind with my mother, so she was the sole bread earner of the family. She single-handedly had to ensure we were all taught, provided for and support my sisters as they moved into married life.
“Even after the financial crunch, she never hesitated to get me anything that I needed for hockey.
“Secondly, my coach Pritam Siwach, who coaches more than 150 kids in the village where I come from without much in the way of facilities and amenities. She has immensely supported me to get me to where I am today.
“Today, I would like to thank both of you so much Mom and Didi. It's because of your struggle and support that I am at this stage today. A very happy International Women's Day to all of you, let's celebrate the women in our life! Thankyou!”