India team getting better on tactical and fitness fronts: Indian hockey player Navneet Kaur

Bengaluru, May 27 Talented forward Navneet Kaur says the Indian women’s hockey team lacked experience during the Rio Olympics but the side is much better now both tactically and physically as they gear up for the Tokyo Games. The 25-year-old, who has been sweating it out in the national camp at the SAI centre here, is hopeful of playing her first Olympic Games in two months.

“India women’s were playing at the Rio Olympics for the first time, and perhaps lacked the experience against the top teams in a marquee event like the Olympics,” Navneet said in a release issued by Hockey India.

In 2016, the Indian women’s team had qualified for Olympics for the first time since competing in the 1980 edition but it was knocked out at the group stage.

“I’m really hopeful of making it to the 16-member squad for the Olympic games and I’m really excited.

“We have been working very hard on improving our fitness levels and getting better tactically as well. I’m focused on making it to the Olympics and realising my childhood dream.” With 79 caps to her name, Navneet acknowledges the responsibility that comes with playing as a forward.

“Of course, the onus is on us forwards to set the tone by scoring goals. We had solid match practice at the start of the year and there were a lot of lessons learnt from those tours as well,” she said.

“Scoring goals is a collective responsibility of the side and we are constantly working on getting better at it. I am sure the team will step up in the big stage.” The Haryana-based forward had tested positive for COVID-19 along with her captain Rani Rampal, Savita and Sushila but they have made a swift recovery.

“We have already missed out on a lot of match practice because of the pandemic. It was frustrating to lose out on more time but during these tough times, safety comes first…,” said Navneet.

Navneet said she looks up to the seniors in the team and is determined to get her hands on an Olympic medal.

“The experience of players such as Rani and Savita has only made me a better player. The team environment is like a family, where the seniors and the juniors can exchange ideas about each other’s game,” she said.

“The seniors motivate us to ride to perform better in top events. I hope we can use that during the Tokyo Olympics and come back with a medal.” New source PTI


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