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Can Indian women finish on podium in hockey World Cup?

Source: PTI
June 24, 2022 14:24 IST
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Savita Punia

Photograph: Kind courtesy Hockey India/Twitter

India captain Savita feels there is no dearth of motivation and confidence in the national women's hockey team as it eyes a historic podium finish at the upcoming World Cup.

The top FIH tournament will be jointly hosted by the Netherlands and Spain from July 1 to 17.

India finished a historic fourth at the Olympics last year and Savita said the Tokyo Games had instilled a belief that they can match the best in the business on the biggest stage.

"Our performance in Tokyo gave us the belief that we can finish on the podium in global events," Savita said.

 

"Post Olympics, we realigned our focus on taking our performance to the next level. We channelled our energy into doing well in the FIH Pro League and finishing third in this prestigious league has given us a boost ahead of the World Cup."

Indian women's best-ever result at the World Cup is a fourth place finish in the inaugural edition in 1974. In the 2018 tournament, India secured the eighth spot.

India's splendid show in Tokyo has changed the face of women's hockey in the country. Featuring in its debut FIH Pro League, the Indian women gave big shots like the Netherlands and Argentina tough fights to finish a creditable third.

"The Indian women's hockey team has never won a medal at the World Cup and it is our mission to make this dream come alive this time," Savita said.

The ace goalkeeper said playing and fighting together as a unit will be key to success in the World Cup.

"We are very excited to play in the World Cup. We just want to play as a team. For us, the Olympics was a great experience. We learnt a lot from there and we believe we have to play together and fight hard," she said.

"After the Olympics, everyone in our team is so motivated, so focused. We really want to play against good teams," she added.

In the upcoming quadrennial event, India are placed in Pool B alongside England, China and New Zealand, and will open their campaign against England on July 3 at Amstelveen.

"Of course, England, China and New Zealand are good teams. We've already played against them. But we have to focus on ourselves first. We will go match by match," Savita said. 

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