Deep Grace Ekka: Focus on winning Nations Cup to book next season’s FIH Pro League berth

Indian women’s hockey vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka on Tuesday said the team is focussing on winning this year’s FIH Nations Cup, a qualifier for next season’s Pro League.

FILE PHOTO: The defender, a veteran of 240 caps, said the podium finish in Birmingham will do wonders in lifting the confidence of the team.

FILE PHOTO: The defender, a veteran of 240 caps, said the podium finish in Birmingham will do wonders in lifting the confidence of the team. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

Indian women’s hockey vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka on Tuesday said the team is focussing on winning this year’s FIH Nations Cup, a qualifier for next season’s Pro League.

Indian women’s hockey vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka on Tuesday said the Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medal is a thing of the past now and the team is focussing on winning this year’s FIH Nations Cup, a qualifier for next season’s Pro League.

India, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and hosts Spain are the eight participating teams in the Nations Cup to be held in Valencia from December 10 to 17.

The winner of the tournament will directly qualify for next season’s FIH Pro League.

“We did well in Birmingham, but now that is a closed chapter. We have had a good break and now we have to get back to work. I am sure chief coach Janneke Schopman will assess our previous performance and plan the upcoming days in camp accordingly,” Ekka said in a Hockey India release.

“We have to do well in Spain in the FIH Women’s Hockey Nations Cup, and for that the preparation begins from today. It won’t be easy but training hard and doing the right things repeatedly during our sessions is the only thing we can do,” she explained.

“Our aim in Spain will be to progress to the FIH Hockey Women’s Pro League and for that we have to win the Nations Cup. Our target is in front of us, now it’s up to us to make sure we build in the correct direction.” The Indian women had finished a creditable third in their debut FIH Pro League outing in 2021-22 season.

The defender, a veteran of 240 caps, however, said the podium finish in Birmingham will do wonders in lifting the confidence of the team.

“We would have liked to play the final in Birmingham for sure, but winning bronze was a big achievement for us. Standing on the podium is a moment we will never forget. It’s a big morale booster for the entire team.”

The Indian women’s team on Tuesday assembled for a long preparatory camp at the SAI centre in Bengaluru after enjoying a good break following a successful outing in Birmingham.

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