Bend it Like Dalima Chhibber, Steadfast Athlete and Poster Girl of India Women’s Football

Bend it Like Dalima Chhibber, Steadfast Athlete and Poster Girl of India Women’s Football

Being a woman footballer in India is not easy - pay disparity and sexism are common issues faced by female players. Yet Team India football player and Steadfast Athlete Dalima Chhibber has remained unfazed, carving a niche for herself as an ace defender in the sports football arena. It’s not hard spotting jersey No. 17 on the football field - this versatile and swift footballer can be easily spotted making her way across the opponent team members. She started with the India Under-16 team in 2012-13 and was the captain of the India Under-19 ACC Qualifiers in Jordan in 2014. There was no looking back after that and she became a regular choice for the national team. She has captained FC Pune City, Gokulam Kerala, India U-19, and the senior team at times and is now the captain for Kickstart FC.

Dalima made her international debut in the 2016 South Asian Games against the Maldives. She scored her first goal in 2019 against Bangladesh and has a series of wins to her credit. She was runner’s up in the Indian Women's League Championship 2023, won the season’s Most Valuable Player and Defender of the Year award when she played for Manitoba Bisons in 2022-2023, clinched the Most Valuable Player award at the 2019 SAFF Women's Championship, finished in the top 3 at the AFC Women's Club Championship 2021 (third place), and won the gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games. The list of her achievements is not over yet - this talented footballer helped her team win the Indian Women's League 2022 and the SAF Women's Championship in 2016 and 2019. Football Delhi's first-ever Best Footballer of the Year award in 2020.

Dalima Chhibber was born on August 30, 1997, in Delhi into a football family. Both her parents are football and soccer players. Her father made her a pro in football, as did her brother and sister. As a child, Dalima loved playing soccer. Her father was her guide, who trained her and guided her on her journey. She joined her father's Chhibber Football Academy Eve Soccer Club at 7, which paved the way for her professional career and played for a U-19 team as an 11-year-old. Dalima then became a part of the Women’s Youth League. She’s done her graduation at Delhi University and has recently completed her Master’s in Sports and Psychology.

Besides talent, another reason for Dalima’s success is that she is highly disciplined. She plans her activities according to a schedule, religiously adhering to it. Being able to multitask is also a factor behind her success. Her positive attitude and belief in herself have also made her a winner. 

Dalima has been part of the Steadfast Nutrition family since 2021. She says her  association with Steadfast has been one of the best things in her health journey. Her favourite Steadfast Nutrition supplement is CollaStead, which helps her with knee injury. She takes Incredible Whey (Coffee flavour) after her 11-12 hour practice sessions to help her with muscle recovery and growth,  a pre-requisite for being a successful football athlete.

“I believe in their products as each one feels curated according to my needs,” says Dalima.

You can go scoopless with Incredible Whey. It contains 24 grams of protein in a single-serving sachet. What I like most about it is that it’s easy to carry. So I am using it for my intense workout. And I can take it anywhere during my practice session.

Being a woman footballer does not come without its set of challenges. In her previous interviews, Dalima has spoken about battling sexism and comments after playing a match like, “What will they do when they come back? They will just return home and manage the household chores…”

The wage gap between male and female footballers remains another challenge. Dalima says she doesn’t see the issue as getting addressed anytime soon in India. Yet she strides on, making a mark for herself with every game.

Success is impossible without sweat, pain, and scars. Today, she has come a long way from there, decorated with wins, medals, and honours.

All Dalima can think about is doing well in football and achieving bigger and better laurels for herself, her team, and the country.

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