Vaishnavi Phalke, daughter of wrestler, fulfilling father’s dream at Asian Games as hockey midfielder

Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, a midfielder in the India women’s hockey team, is gearing up to represent her country at the 19th Asian Games.

Hailing from a quaint village in the Satara district of Maharashtra, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, a midfielder in the India women’s hockey team, is on the verge of realizing her father’s dream as she prepares to represent her country at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, commencing next week.

Vaishnavi’s father, Vitthal Phalke, himself once an aspiring wrestler who participated in Kersari Kusthi, a regional wrestling competition in Maharashtra, had harbored dreams of achieving success in the sport. However, his aspirations remained unfulfilled, laying the foundation for his unwavering passion for sports, which has now found a new lease of life through his daughter.

Recalling her initial foray into hockey, Vaishnavi shared, “My father was a wrestler in his youth but couldn’t break into the big leagues. He channeled his hopes into me, aspiring for me to represent the nation. In 2011, he sent me to Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune, to pursue sports. After exploring various sports, I eventually decided to embrace hockey.”


Vaishnavi’s journey as a hockey player meant spending her formative years away from home to realize her father’s dream. Her breakthrough came in 2017 when she participated in the 7th Hockey India Sub-Junior Women’s National Championship held in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu. Her exceptional skills in the midfield caught the attention of selectors, leading to her inclusion in the Indian junior women’s squad following a stellar performance at the 9th Hockey India Junior Women’s National Championship in 2019.

“My father has always been my greatest source of encouragement, consistently urging me to give my best. I vividly remember his immense happiness when I embarked on my first international tour as part of the senior squad. Learning about my selection for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022 amplified his joy,” Vaishnavi expressed in a statement released by Hockey India.

“This upcoming tournament will mark my debut in a major senior competition, and I am ecstatic about fulfilling my father’s dream. It is a significant platform, and I am eager to showcase my skills on the field,” she added.

To date, Vaishnavi has represented the Indian team in six matches, with one goal to her name. She was also a crucial member of the junior Indian women’s hockey team that clinched victory in the Junior Asia Cup earlier this year in Kakamigahara, Japan.

Regarding preparations for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022, Vaishnavi remarked, “We have engaged in extensive practice matches and rigorous training sessions in the lead-up to the tournament. The entire team approaches training with a positive mindset, and my teammates provide constant encouragement. They remind me that if we make mistakes, we also possess the capability to rectify them.”

“Our goal is to return with a medal, leaving no room for regrets on the field. I aim to replicate my performance from practice matches. While there might be some pressure due to the significance of the tournament, I intend to set aside any concerns and play with freedom, with the ultimate hope of returning home with a medal,” concluded Vaishnavi, echoing her determination to succeed.


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