Arjuna Award nominees Vandana and Monica fully focused on Tokyo Olympics

Indian women's hockey players Vandana Katariya and Monica have been nominated for the Arjuna Award by Hockey India.

Indian women's hockey team midfielder Monica in action during the Olympics Test Event in Tokyo.   -  Hockey India

Arjuna Award nominees Vandana Katariya and Monica on Friday said the Indian women’s hockey team has a good balance of experience and youth and remains confident of achieving its goal of doing well at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Indian team sealed a second consecutive berth in the now postponed Tokyo Olympics after beating USA 6-5 on aggregate in November.

“We are certainly moving in the right direction at the moment. The balance of the side is brilliant and we have to just keep moving forward,” Vandana said in a release issued by Hockey India.

“The confidence of our team is high and I am sure we will be able to put up good performances on the big stage. We are evolving very well as a team and have a great mindset at the moment.”

Monica said that the team has worked on sharpening its skills and is ready to deliver the goods at the Olympics.

“All of us have only one goal and that is to do well at the Olympics. We have fine-tuned many of our skills in the recent past and we are ready to give everything we have to put up excellent performances at the quadrennial event next year.

“We have a good balance of experience and youth in our team and we are technically sound as well. We are eager to do well for our country,” she added.

READ: Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani recommended for Khel Ratna

Earlier this week, Hockey India announced the nomination of Indian women’s team captain Rani for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award while Vandana, Monika and men’s team defender Harmanpreet Singh were nominated for the Arjuna Award.

Vandana, who has over 200 international caps and Monika with 150 International Caps have played key roles in the Indian team’s sensational wins last year which include the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test Event and the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar.

Vandana thanked her teammates for their undying support.

“It’s amazing to be nominated for the Arjuna Award. I am sure this nomination will be a huge motivation factor for us in the upcoming years. I couldn’t have performed at my best if I didn’t have wonderful teammates. They have always been on my side and the entire credit for my performances goes to them,” said the 28-year-old.

Monika said the nomination will motivate her to perform better.

“I am extremely honoured to be nominated for the Arjuna Award. The nomination will surely motivate me to perform even better for my team. We produced fantastic results in 2019 and hopefully, we will continue our form once we start playing matches,” she said.

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