All set to host their maiden international Sepaktakraw event, India would be keen on making it a memorable tournament by grabbing their first-ever medal in the sport when the ISTAF Super Series begins August 29 in New Delhi.
“Our players have been waiting to perform in front of our home crowd. We have got this opportunity now and we will leave no stone unturned to bag a medal at this prestigious event,” said chief coach Hemraj.
“The players have been training in camps regularly. They look in fine shape. We wouldn’t settle for anything less than a medal in both the men’s and women’s section. Playing at home will benefit us,” he said.
Spread over four legs, the first super series event of the year will be held at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here from August 29 to September 1.
The hosts would like make a mark as qualification for the next year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea depends on it.
While a six-member Indian men’s team, led by G Jiteshwor Sharma, has the experience of playing at the international level, the women’s squad is an inexperienced one in terms of overseas exposure as all of them would be making their debut in the upcoming event.
“Our girls team is young and enthusiastic. They might be inexperienced at the international level but are keen to perform. They know that an opportunity to play in front of home fans doesn’t come very often. This will further motivate them,” said women’s coach Jotin Singh.
“Our first target would be to qualify for the semifinals. And further our girls are capable of shocking any team in a do-or-die clash,” he added.
Women’s team skipper, Bijata of Manipur, seemed quite excited about playing her first international competition in India and is determined to give her best.
“This event will help popularise the sport in the country. I feel lucky to be part of the side which is playing at home for the first time. I am sure we will not disappoint the home fans,” said Bijata, who has won the national title with her state team.