Indian women’s hockey team hopes to go one better this time at World Cup

File photo for representation.

File photo for representation. | Photo Credit: AFP

The Indian women’s hockey team finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and its performance since then has been followed by increased expectations at the World Cup starting in three days’ time.

Captain Savita Punia knows the burden too well but is confident of her teammates enough to dismiss any talk of pressure. The team lost to eventual silver medallist Ireland in shootouts in 2018 and Savita hopes to go one better this time around.

“A World Cup or Olympics is a special event and every team is there to win. It’s all about fine margins and Ireland did finish second in 2018 so it wasn’t like we lost to a weak team.

“But there were definitely things we could have done better in the shootout back then and we have worked on those things since then,” Savita told The Hindu during the team’s pre-departure interaction from Bengaluru.

Right preparation

“What we have learnt as a team is that concentrating on our own performance is the only way to get better results. The difference this time is that we have played some very good games with the top teams in the Pro League (India finished third).

“Our preparation has been in the right direction, but we are also aware that once the actual tournament starts, all the preparation and training comes down to those 60 minutes on that day. It’s all about taking it one match at a time,” she added.

The absence of talismanic Rani Rampal upfront and Deepika Thakur in defence will be a big hole, but Savita isn’t willing to let it affect the youngsters on the field.

“Both these players have been integral to the team for many years, but to be honest, we did have pressure on us in the Pro League as well because we were participating in it for the first time and we wanted to let people know that the Indian team was as good as any and wasn’t there only to make up the numbers.

“Their presence would have obviously been a great help, but every player in this team has a role and not performing is not an option. The younger players are all so honest and dedicated, I am proud to be a part of this team,” she insisted.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 10:36:05 pm |