BHUBANESWAR: Sudipta Dash stands as an example of how marriage and motherhood do not have to come in the way of one's professional dreams. She holds the distinction of being the first international referee from Odisha who managed to achieve this feat while juggling all these different roles.
It was never easy but the former Indian footballer has shown others how to make it work as she is busy overlooking the referees in action at the ongoing Odisha Women's Football League which is underway at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
"Being a new mother is tough enough. It is less than two and half years into my comeback to the ground since the maternity break. It is a special kind of assignment provided by the Football Association of Odisha (FAO) to assess the referee team at the ongoing Odisha Women's Football League (OWL)," said Sudipta from the official desk with her baby boy in her arms.
She got married in the year 2015 and became a mother in 2018 but her love for sports made her return to the game in a different capacity.
“I had played my first national tournament as an Odisha player in 1998 and my last national tournament was the 33rd National Games at Guwahati in Assam in 2007 where we won the gold. I was also part of the Indian team for the AFC U-19 tournament held in China in the year 2004. Nowadays, women's football in India has changed in many ways and it is the same as in our state. The facilities and infrastructure in this tournament (OWL) is the dream of any Indian women footballer," added Sudipta.
While she hasn't officially announced her retirement, the 36-year-old knew that refereeing was her future.
“Once I had realised that as the age is growing it will not be easy to be with the national team. So I made a decision that if I want to be involved in football, then I have to switch over to officiating. After the successful completion of my refereeing course in the year 2013, I had officiated in the Junior National Championship at Cuttack in the same year. After that, I never looked back. Though I got married in the year 2015, I had my first international game as a match official at the 12th South Asian Games 2016 in Shillong. In my life I can’t ever dream of a life without soccer sports," she concluded.