Indian women’s hockey team is currently sweating it out at the senior women’s national coaching camp, which is being held at SAI in Bengaluru from June 11 to July 11. Notably, the 33-member core probables group was named for the preparatory camp ahead of the Asian Games in China, which are scheduled for September-October this year.
The Asian Games will be crucial for the Indian women’s hockey team as winning the gold medal in the quadrennial continental showpiece event will ensure their direct qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
In addition, ahead of the crucial tournament, the Indian team will have an opportunity to put their skills and team combinations to the test when they travel to Spain to compete in the 100th Anniversary Spanish Hockey Federation-International Tournament, which is scheduled to take place from July 25 to July 20.
The four-nation tournament will witness India play against South Africa, England and hosts Spain.
Speaking about the tournament in Spain, Indian team captain Savita Punia said, “It will be a crucial tournament for us as it will enable us to pinpoint the areas that demand immediate attention and require collective effort to improve as a team. We will be playing against some of the top-notch teams in the tournament, so, in a way it will be a litmus test for us ahead of the Asian Games.”
Meanwhile, talking about the ongoing National Camp, Savita said, “We are currently focusing on giving our best in every session at the National Camp, which is very crucial for us as it gives us an opportunity to refine the structure and tactics of the team ahead of the Asian Games. We are aware of what our coach expects from us as a team and that definitely makes our task easier. However, we still have to keep working hard everyday in the training as we know for a fact that the more we sweat it out in the practice sessions, the less we struggle in the actual competition.”
“Also, now every player will have to prove her mettle in every training session and match to make it to the squad for the Asian Games. There are numerous talented players in the Indian Women’s Hockey Junior Team, which recently won the Junior Asia Cup, and they will be eyeing to make it to the senior team. Hence, no player can take her place in the team for granted. Everyone has a chance to make or break into the Asian Games team. I believe this kind of healthy competition for a spot in the team will only help the side become more daunting.”
Further reflecting on the Indian team’s performance in their recent tour of Australia, where they played five matches against the hosts, Savita said, “In Australia, our performance in the first game wasn’t up to par, but it was understandable given that we were playing international hockey after the gap of four months. Consequently, the team faced some difficulties in establishing their synergy. Nevertheless, we managed to hold our ground throughout the tour. This resilience is becoming increasingly characteristic of our team. We excel in playing collectively and fighting together, making it a formidable challenge for any opponent to defeat us and that will be our biggest strength in the Asian Games.”
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