Beauty Dungdung – Bucketful of Promise for Indian Women’s Team Forwardline

Beauty Dungdung is the newest player to emerge from the talented-inundated nondescript pocket of Simdega in Jharkhand. The 19-year-old striker now becomes the third Simdega girl after Salima Tete and Sangita Kumar to be part of the national fold. Young, talented, and blessed with the hunger to make a big impression on the international stage, Beauty would look to justify her inclusion in the national side with an eye-popping performance in the inagural FIH Women’s Nationals Cup that would be held in Valencia, Spain from December 10 to 17.

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The fledging striker has been making all the right noises even as she transitioned through the junior ranks – Beauty donned the national jersey at the 2022 Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup at Potchefstroom, South Africa, where India performed increadibly well to reach the semifinals but had to settle for a fourth-place finish.

The hockey prowess of Beauty was showcased at the 2022 Uniphar U23 5 Nations Tournament at Dublin, where she spearheaded the forwardline. The Simdega lass also made a statement in the tourney, scoring on a consistent basis. Beauty scored one goal each against Ireland, the Netherlands, and the USA during the league matches and also scored the only goal for India in their 1-4 final loss to the Netherlands.

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Hockey runs in Dungdung’s family – her father Ambrose Dungdung was a national hockey player-turned farmer, who could not further his hockey career owing to financial challenges. The struggles only made Beauty tougher – in fact, she worked as a laborer in other’s fields. Her father made a lot of sacrifices so that his daughter’s hockey did not face any roadblocks. During the corona period the family faced tough times so much so that Beauty’s father went to Mumbai and worked there for several days. The Dungdung menage must be a feeling a lot better now that Beauty has landed a job with Indian Oil.

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Beauty took her initial hockey lessons under the guidance of hockey coach Pratima Barwa at Jharkhand government-run Residential Hockey Centre (formed in 2008), which is attached to SS Girls High School Simdega. “I’m so happy to see Beauty making it to the national senior team. I still remember she first started training at the RHC in 2013 and was with us till 2019. She is an exciting prospect for the future,” says Beauty’s childhood coach and Residential Hockey Centre head coach Pratima Barwa.

Barwa can’t wait to see the two Simdega forwards – Beauty and Sangita – in the FIH Women’s Nationals Cup. “It’s an exciting feeling to see two girls whom I have trained play for the senior national team at the same time. I just hope both of them repay the faith shown by the coaches and selectors,” she says.

According to the Residential Hockey Centre head coach, Beauty has all the attributes of being a good forward. “The good thing about Beauty is her flexibility and speed – her body feint comes naturally to her – she is a little different from Sangita, who is blessed with superb stickwork. The tackling and interception skills of Beauty is also her forte, which means the team management can deploy anywhere on the pitch and not just as a forward,” reasons Barwa.

For a Rani Rampal-minus Indian women team forwardline, it is imperative that Beauty Dungdung quickly settles all her big match nerves and comes into her own in Valencia – a grandiose senior international debut could just served as a springboard for the youngster to establish herself in the senior national team.