Goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam’s career has been on the rise since she made her breakthrough with eye-catching display at the 2018 Youth Olympics, a tournament where India clinched a historic silver medal. In the following year, she was named goalkeeper of the tournament in the four Nations Junior Women Invitational in Dublin and was fast-tracked to the senior squad.
Bichu now has to compete with seasoned campaigners such as Savita Punia and Rajani Etimarpu for a spot in the Indian team. But the 20-year-old from Manipur is calm about her role with the senior team and is relishing training alongside her seniors.
“Savita didi and Rajani didi help me a lot,” Bichu said. “I approach them with my doubts and are more than happy to help me out. Even they ask me about their weaknesses, and how they can go about correcting them despite me being new at the senior level. They treat me like a friend…or like a sister. They’ve given me a lot of love and I respect them a lot.”
Part of the Core Probable Group that is training for the Olympic Games, Bichu understands this is a great opportunity for her to make an impression and imbibe the qualities it takes to be a standout goalkeeper.
“I get really excited just thinking about the Olympics. Because it’s such a big tournament, I have to work harder. I’m trying to absorb all the advice my seniors and coaches have been giving me,” she stated.