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Deep Grace Ekka, Indian Women's Hockey Defender, Announces International Retirement At 29

Deep Grace Ekka was instrumental in India qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The penalty corner specialist was a vital cog in the team's defence line at the Tokyo Games where India finished fourth

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Ace hockey player, Deep Grace Ekka announced her international retirement from the sport Photo: X/ @otvnews
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Indian women's hockey team defender and penalty corner specialist Deep Grace Ekka on Saturday announced her international retirement, ending an illustrious career during which she represented India in two Olympic Games. (More Hockey News)

"It is with immense gratitude and humility that I officially announce my retirement from International Hockey today. The journey from 2011 to 2023 has been the highlight of my life, and I am deeply honoured to have represented India at the pinnacle of the sport," Ekka said in a social media post.

The 29-year-old was instrumental in India qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She was a vital cog in the team's defence line at the Tokyo Games where India finished fourth.

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Ekka was also a member of the Indian team that won bronze in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. She also represented the Indian teams that won medals in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games.

She was also a member of the title-winning Indian teams in the 2016 Women’s Asian Champions Trophy and 2017 Asia Cup.

Ekka began her journey in international hockey as a 17-year-old in 2011 when she made her debut in the Four-Nation Tournament in Argentina. 

She then went on to play in the U18 Girls Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand and her strong performance led her to become a regular feature in the National Camp.

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"To my teammates, coaches, mentors, and the entire support staff – your presence has been nothing short of a privilege. I am grateful for your instrumental role in transforming my aspirations into reality," Ekka said.

"I extend my sincere thanks to Hockey India, Hockey Association of Odisha, Odisha Government, Government of India and Sports Authority of India for their unwavering support."

Ekka, hailing from Lulkidihi village in the Sundargh district of Odisha, won the bronze medal as part of the Indian squad at the 2013 Women's Junior Hockey World Cup in Germany.

She doubled up for both Junior and Senior squads that year, winning a bronze with the senior side at the Women's Asia Cup in 2013 and a silver at the Asian Champions Trophy in 2013.

Congratulating Ekka on a glorious career, Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey said: "For over a decade, Deep Grace Ekka has been a household name in women's hockey. Her success in hockey has been a huge inspiration for youngsters not only in Odisha but across the country. 

"She has shown great sportsmanship throughout her career and has immensely contributed to the team's growth in the past decade. On behalf of Hockey India, I wish her the very best for the future and congratulate her on her illustrious career."

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