Seven girls from Odisha, including three from Kendrapada district, were part of the gold medal winning Indian women squad at the recent South Asian Women Football Tournament in Sri Lanka.
Besides Sasmita Mallick (21), Alochana Senapati (21), Suprava Samal (21), all from Kendrapada’s Aul block, Sita Sharma (Rourkela), Lochana Munda (Sambalpur), Supriya Routray (Cuttack) and Pinky (Jharsuguda) were part of the Indian team that defeated Nepal in the final at Colombo on Sunday.
Sasmita Mallick scored five goals in the tournament whereas Alochana and Suprava scored one each. The India team defeated Bangladesh 3-0, Sri Lanka 5-0, Bhutan 11-0 and Afghanistan 11-0 before gaining entry into the finals.
Sasmita, Alochana and Suprava are simple village girls, who were propelled into international sport for their love of football and hard work in Aul. On Tuesday, many villagers thronged Alochana’s house after she returned home. Sasmita and Suprava went to Bihar as they work in the railways at Patna. Alochana received a rousing welcome. “No happiness is bigger than winning a medal for the country,” said Alochana.