Training under Rupinder at national camp will help me during Asian Games: Deepika

New Delhi, Sep 7 (PTI) Indian women’s hockey team’s penalty corner specialist Deepika feels the training stint at the national camp under former drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh will help her in taking decisions in match situations during the upcoming Asian Games.

The 19-year-old Deepika is one of three drag-flickers available to chief coach Janneke Schopman for penalty corners. She has scored seven goals — four of which came from penalty corners — in six games at the women’s Junior Asia Cup which India won earlier this year.

“We’ve been working on drag-flicking with Rupinder Pal Singh in camp for a few days now, he’s got us working on beating the first rusher, showing us where the ball can be stopped, and how to release if the ball is stopped on the sides,” Deepika said.

“All of this help will undoubtedly help me in match situations during the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. “I don’t feel any pressure to score by flicking, all the players let me focus on my skill and encourage me to keep the shot on goal as much as I can,” she added in a Hockey India release.

Deepika said she was not expecting to make it to the Asian Games team.

“With everyone vying for a spot, I never expected to make the team, and I was ecstatic when I found out. It’s my first time going to a big tournament, and I was a little nervous at first, but chief coach Janneke Schopman and the senior players have kept me grounded,” she said.

“My father has had a few sleepless nights since he found out, I suppose because he can’t believe it’s actually happening, but seeing him as happy as a child when he was in Bengaluru for the send-off ceremony was very fulfilling. He himself said he didn’t think I’d be chosen, but he is extremely proud of everything I’m accomplishing,” she added.

Deepika, who hails from Hisar in Haryana, picked up the hockey stick in 2012 on her way to wrestling practice with her brother, and after years of hard work, she has made the cut for the Indian women’s team, that will compete in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, beginning on September 23.

“My family has always been supportive of my hockey career, even though a lot was said about me when I first started playing. My father never let it reach my ears,” the youngster said of her early hockey days.

“And after my first sub-junior National Championships in 2017, they started motivating me even more, their belief in me was visible.” Deepika made it to the national team as a forward in the Youth Olympic Qualifiers in March 2018. She has since featured in the FIH women’s Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa in 2021 where India finished fourth. She was also part of the Junior Asia Cup title-winning team in June.

The Indian women’s hockey team is placed in Pool A in the Hangzhou Asian Games and will face Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore in the group stage.

Source: PTI News


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