Tuesday, April 16, 2024

‘Fearless’ women’s hockey marks new era for Team India

India’s Olympic women’s team have become a “fearless” team, according to Gurjit Kaur.

The drag-flick specialist, nominated for the FIH player of the year, was one of the key architects in India reaching the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics.

And the 25-year-old says that the “dream campaign” has put India women’s hockey on the map after finishing fourth behind Great Britain.

“People have started watching us, and I am sure our performance will inspire young girls to take up hockey. The Tokyo Olympics 2020 marks the beginning of a new era of Indian hockey,” she told the Press Trust of India.

India celebrate history after beating the Hockeyroos. PIC: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

“We have gained a lot of confidence, we have become fearless, and going forward it will certainly help us perform well in major tournaments. I also hope we get the same amount of love and respect going forward.”

On being nominated for the FIH award, Gurjit added: “For an athlete, it’s one of the best moments when all your hard work and sacrifices get recognised at a world level, and I am really happy to see my name on that list. It will give me extra motivation to do even better for the team.”

Meanwhile, India men’s bronze medallists will now aim to cement their position as one of world hockey’s top sides after their history-making tournament in Tokyo.

India’s Australian coach Graham Redi said: “We have set some milestones in terms of competitions that are coming up for us now. We have Asian Games, FIH Pro League, Commonwealth Games, Hockey World Cup in 2023 and then Paris Olympics the following year.

Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran is all smiles after India’s bronze PIC: REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

“So the milestones have been set, but how we need to prepare between those milestones will be decided in the next month or so,” Reid told Hockey India’s podcast ‘Hockey Te Charcha’.

The Australian said now is the time to take stock of their Tokyo efforts as they look forward to an action packed 2022.

He said: “We have to sit down and analyse all the games from the Olympics and see what the other teams have been doing, because you never get the time to do that in the middle of a tournament, when the focus is limited only on the next opponent.

“We also need to get feedback from our players on what they feel are the skills that they need to work on going forward, and surely we need to accelerate our learning to be consistently up there with the best teams in the world all the time.”

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