Football

Bembem Devi delighted with Padma Shri recognition

From the archives: Bembem received the Arjuna Award from President Ram Nath Kovind in 2017.

From the archives: Bembem received the Arjuna Award from President Ram Nath Kovind in 2017.   | Photo Credit: R_V_Moorthy

The Indian women’s football team’s flag-bearer is glad that her sacrifices have paid off

Former India captain Oinam Bembem Devi is one of the recipients of the Padma Shri award this year.

A flag-bearer of Indian women’s football for over two decades, Bembem was also conferred with the Arjuna award in 2017.

Contribution recognised

Delighted with the Padma Shri recognition, she said: “I am happy that the government has recognised the several years of my contribution to the senior women’s National team.

“ I am glad that the sacrifices I made for my career have resulted in this.

First memory

“When I started playing football, I had no clue about these awards.

“All I can recall is when I first saw a women’s football match, I wanted to represent my country,” she said.

“I worked hard for it and as I played for the senior team, I realised that winning medals is very tough in football.

“I played for over 20 years for India, so when the government acknowledged my contribution with the Arjuna award, I felt satisfied,” said Bembem.

Making her National debut at the age of 15, she donned the National colours until 2016. She won three SAF Cup titles (2010, 2012, 2014) and two South Asian Games gold medals (2010, 2016).

Bembem is also a two-time AIFF Women’s Player of the Year (2001, 2013).

In 2018, Bembem led Eastern Sporting Union to the final of the Indian Women’s League as a coach.

In 2019, she coached the under-17 side Cheetahs in the Women’s Championship held in West Bengal.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:29:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/bembem-devi-delighted-with-padma-shri-recognition/article30659623.ece

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