In the world of field hockey, 2023 brought forth a shining star – Sanehpreet Basra, the U SPORTS Field Hockey Player of the Year. A legend in the making, Basra's introduction to field hockey is deeply rooted in family and community. Her father's background in the sport, coupled with a desire to give back, led to the establishment of a youth program at the Panthers Field Hockey Club in Surrey. At the age of 7, she embarked on her own field hockey journey, marking the beginning of a 16-year commitment to the sport.
The announcement of being named the 2023 U SPORTS Field Hockey Player of the Year was a memorable moment for Basra. Her gratitude extends beyond personal achievement, “What makes this award even more special is seeing not only close family relatives support this journey, but also the Punjabi community’s support, along with their positive and encouraging messages.” Surely, the award has become not just a recognition of Basra’s individual prowess but a celebration of shared passion and encouragement.
Attributing her success to a combination of consistency, hard work, and discipline, Basra emphasizes the importance of sacrifice and time management. She recognizes the vital role played by her family and coaches, particularly her father, in creating a healthy environment that motivated her to strive for excellence. Growing up in a family where sports and exercise were heavily embraced, Basra recalls always receiving unwavering support. In fact, Basra credits her father's disciplined lifestyle as a significant influence, highlighting the pivotal role of parental involvement in a child's sports journey.
Amidst her achievements, Basra candidly discusses the mental challenges inherent in her field hockey journey. Overcoming the pressure of expectations and evolving her outlook on the sport, she now finds joy in every moment on the pitch, fostering a deeper appreciation for the journey itself. Balancing academics and sports, Basra acknowledges the potential overwhelm during exam seasons but stresses the significance of effective time management and prioritization.
To young girls aspiring to pursue sports, Basra's advice is straightforward, “Just do it. You will only gain positive things from pursuing any sport, and if you want to play at a more competitive level, prioritize aspects like your diet, sleep, and fitness which are equally, if not more important, than training itself.” Looking ahead, Basra shares her team's goal of winning both the CanWest and U SPORTS championship titles. On a personal level, she aims to continue trusting and enjoying the process, focusing on continuous improvement and pushing her limits.