|Profession||Indian Women's Field Hockey (Goalkeeper)|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 171 cm
in meters- 1.71 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 7”
|Weight (approx.)||in kilograms- 60 kg
in pounds- 132 lbs
|International Debut||2008: A four-nation event in Netherlands and Germany|
|Medals||• 2014: Bronze medal – third place in Team at Asia Cup, Incheon, South Korea
• 2017: Gold medal – first place in Team at Gifu, Japan
• 2018: Silver medal – second place in Team at Asian Games, Jakarta
|Domestic/State Team||Hockey Haryana|
|Coach/Mentor(s)||• First Coach and Mentor: Sunder Singh Kharab
• National Coach: Sjoerd Marijne
|Date of Birth||11 July 1990 (Wednesday)|
|Age (as of 2022)||32 Years|
|Birthplace||Jodhkan, Sirsa district, Haryana, India|
|School||Maharaja Agrasain girls' school, Haryana|
|Educational Qualification||She received her school education from Maharaja Agrasain girls' school, Haryana. ESPN|
|Hobbies||Watching movies and reading about goalkeeping and the experiences of other goalkeepers.|
|Relationships & More|
|Marriage Date||5 April 2023
|Marriage Place||Hotel Park Plaza, Chandigarh|
|Husband/Spouse||Ankit Balhara (a Canada-based software engineer)|
|Parents||Father- Name Not Known
Mother- Name Not Known
Grandfather- Mahinder Singh
|Siblings||Brother- Name Not Known
Sister- Name Not Known
|Winning Moment||• 2017: Asia Cup (Best G K)
• 2018: Asian Games(Silver medal)
• 2018: Arjuna Award
Some Lesser Known Facts About Savita Punia
- Savita Punia is an Indian field hockey player and a goalkeeper who is a member of the Indian national field hockey team.
- Initially, she received her school education at the Sirsa district of Haryana. During her school days, she was motivated by her grandfather Mahinder Singh to join hockey, and soon, she was enrolled in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre at Hisar.
- Sunder Singh Kharab was her mentor in her initial years of learning hockey. In the beginning, she was not much interested in the game. Later, her father bought her a hockey kit worth rupees twenty thousand, which led her to take the sport seriously. In an interview, she stated,
My attitude towards the game changed after my dad bought me the kit. My zeal to work hard and get selected for the national team was a way to pay him back for the efforts he has put in for me.”
- She played for a maiden national camp in Lucknow in 2007, and soon, began her coaching under a top goalkeeper. In an interview, she revealed her love for sports and her family situations,
From the fifth standard, I used to take care of everything at home after my mother fell ill and was hospitalized. But my grandfather was adamant about me leaving the house to achieve something more and so were the rest of the people at home who were very open-minded and wanted me to achieve something.”
- At the age of 17, she was selected for the national team in 2007. In 2008, Punia made her first International debut in a four-nation event in Netherlands and Germany.
- In 2009, at the Junior Asia Cup, she played as a member of the hockey team. In 2011, she played her first senior-level international match. More than 100 games have been played by Punia on the International level.
- In 2013, at the Eighth Women’s Asia Cup held in Malaysia, she participated in the games and saved two important goals in the penalty shoot-out that led India to win a Bronze medal. In 2014, at Incheon Asian Games, she was part of the Indian hockey team that won a bronze medal.
- In 2015, at the Hockey India Annual Awards, Punia was presented with the ‘The Baljit Singh Goalkeeper of the Year’ award along with a cash reward of 1 lakh rupees. She earned this honour for her outstanding on the field performances at her international contributions in hockey sport.
- In 2016, Punia gave her best performance when in the last one minute of the match, she stood at the penalty corners against Japan that helped India to win by 1-0. This win helped Women Indian hockey team to qualify for the Rio Olympics after 36 years.
- In 2016, Punia revealed that under the Haryana Government’s Medal Lao, Naukri Pao scheme, she was promised a job but did not get the same. In a conversation with a media house, she expressed,
I have only been given assurances by the government officers. For the last three years, that’s what I have been living on.”
- In 2017, her effective performance at the Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand led the Indian hockey team to finish the 6th in the tournament. In the same year, at the Women’s Hockey World League, her extraordinary performance led the Indian women’s hockey team to beat Chile in Round 2 of the final match.
- In 2018, in the Asia Cup, she made an outstanding save against China in the final match. In this match, she was presented with the goalkeeper of the tournament award. This win helped the Indian hockey team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in London.
- Punia received the Arjuna Award in 2018.
- She was asked her sporting role model in her biography, she said,
My grandfather, it is only because of him that I am here. He always supported me so much. He was always very encouraging and I think I am where I am today because of his encouragement and blessings. I remember when I had first played for India, dadaji heard that the news was in the newspaper, and at 67 years of age, he decided to learn to read. After a year or so, he learned reading and then made me sit with him and read the news out loud. It was a really great moment, and the biggest inspiration for me.”
- Initially, Savita started practising as a midfielder in the hockey team. After one year of joining the academy, her coach Sundar Singh Kharab advised her to opt for goalkeeping. This was to increase her chances for the selection in the Indian team, and it was her 5’7″ height that prompted him to decide for goalkeeping. Her grandfather told in an interview,
Kharab sir told me that Savita can be a good goalkeeper due to her height. He, in fact, guaranteed me that she will be in the Indian team when she was just 12 or 13.”
- According to Savita, initially, she was scared of hockey balls. In an interview, she spelt out,
I studied in a hostel after Std VI. The hostel was two hours away from home. To escape hockey training, I would come up with several excuses. I was made a goalkeeper because of my height. I was very scared of the ball.”
- In a conversation with a media house, Punia revealed that her first experience of representing India. She expressed,
I remember the first time I stepped on to the field and sang the national anthem – I had goosebumps and decided that I wanted to do it wholeheartedly. It was a life-changing moment for me. Even though I was the second-choice goalkeeper then, after Dipika Murthy, it was a great experience.”
- According to Punia, the respect her family gained from hockey was her favourite thing about the game. In an interview, she said,
My family has received great respect through hockey – and that is my favourite part. When I had started playing, no one used to really play any sport in my village. Now, because of my performances and because people have gotten to know about me.”
- Savita is a fitness enthusiast. She regularly does high-intensity workouts. In an interview, she stated,
Our day, typically starts with individual high-intensity workouts or body-weight training, and then we proceed to do some analysis which our coaching staff gives us individually.”
- A video interview with Savita Punia.
- In 2021, on selection of the Indian women hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Punia revealed her goals in an interview,
Rio was past, and our aim is to return with a medal from Tokyo. This team has immense self-belief, and this group can top beat any top team on the given day. We don’t have fear factor anymore.”