Experienced midfielder Namita Toppo on Thursday announced her retirement from international hockey, ending a decade-long career with the Indian women's hockey team.
The 27-year-old Namita was part of the Indian team that won a silver medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and the team that bagged a bronze medal in Incheon in 2014.
Hockey India on Thursday congratulated her on an illustrious career with the Indian women's hockey team during which she also won the gold medal in the 2017 Asia Cup in Gifu, Japan and bronze in the 2014 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
A product of the Sports Hostel, Panposh, Rourkela which is located in her native state of Odisha, Namita first represented her state team in 2007 and her performances in the domestic competitions helped her in getting selected for the Girls' U-18 Hockey Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand held in 2011 where the Indian team won the bronze medal.
Namita's hard work and dedication in the national camps and consistent performances in the domestic circuit saw her getting selected to represent the senior India team in 2012 when she participated in the FIH Champions Challenge I in Dublin, Hockey India informed in a release on Thursday.
The following year, she was part of the Indian junior women's hockey team, which won the bronze medal at the FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Women 2013 held in M�nchengladbach, Germany.
There was no looking back for Namita after that as she took part in major tournaments like FIH Women's World League Round 2 in 2013 where India won the gold medal, 3rd women's Asian Champions Trophy in 2013 where India won the silver medal, 8th Women's Asia Cup 2013, 20th Commonwealth Games 2014, 17th Asian Games 2014 where India won the bronze medal, 2016 Rio Olympics, the team's silver medal victory at the 9th Women's Asia Cup 2017 and the 18th Asian Games 2018 where the national team clinched the silver medal.
"The last 10 years have definitely been the best years of my life. I had a dream to play for my country at the biggest stages and I am so happy that I have been able to achieve my dreams. I hope I have made a huge impact and I am very thrilled to see the way the Indian Women's Hockey Team has progressed in the last decade," Namita Toppo was quoted as saying in a release by Hockey India.
"I will keep cheering and supporting for the team while I move on to a new chapter in my life. I could not have achieved this without the support of my teammates, and the Odisha State Government who have backed us unconditionally. They have recognised our achievements every step of the way," she added.
"I thank the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sir and the Departments of Sports and Youth Services. I also thank Hockey India, SAI, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for their unparalleled support for women's hockey. I also thank all the coaches I have trained under," said Namita Toppo.
Meanwhile, the Indian women's hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman said, "Namita has made a humungous contribution to Indian hockey. Apart from giving everything on the field, Namita has also been a perfect role model for the youngsters in the team."
"Not many players get a chance to play 168 matches for their national teams and Namita has earned each one of those caps. Apart from being a great hockey player, Toppo is one of the kindest people I know. She is very thoughtful and she always put the team first. I would like to wish her all the very best for the future," said the chief coach.