The Indian women's hockey team have been honing their skills for the upcoming FIH Women's World Cup with a national camp at the Sports Authority of India Center in Bengaluru.
The FIH Women's World Cup begins on July 1 in the Netherlands and Spain. The Indian women's hockey team are in Pool B along with England, China, and New Zealand. India will kick off their campaign against England on July 3 in Amstelveen, Netherlands.
With just over a month to go for the Indian team's first match at the Women's World Cup, the side will view the Pro League matches against Belgium, Argentina and the United States as the perfect preparation for the event.
Indian custodian and captain for the FIH Pro League leg, Savita Punia spoke about India's preparations for the FIH Women's World Cup. Savita said in a statement:
"The camp is buzzing with excitement and positive energy. The players are training together and there is a real sense of unity among the younger set of players and the senior ones. Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming away matches of the FIH Pro League Games in Belgium and the Netherlands as they will really help the team in growing further as a unit."
The versatile goalkeeper added that the team has improved by leaps and bounds since their Olympic performance in Tokyo last year. She added:
"Our team has made remarkable improvements over the past few months and we are training really hard to continue on the same trajectory. We are gaining confidence each day and will hope to give our best performance at the FIH Women's World Cup."
Pro League - A preparation ground for the FIH Women's World Cup
Ahead of the quadrennial tournament, the Indian women's hockey team will compete against Belgium, Argentina and the United States in the FIH Hockey Pro League.
India will play Belgium on June 11 and 12 before flying to the Netherlands to face Argentina on June 18 and 19. On June 21 and 22, the Savita Punia-led team will face off against the United States.
The Indian team currently occupies the third spot in the FIH Pro League table behind Argentina and the Netherlands.
Defender Deep Grace Ekka spoke about how getting more playing time against strong teams will help the players before the FIH Women's World Cup. She said:
"We have a busy schedule ahead of us in the lead-up to the Women's World Cup and we are looking forward to it. The more games we play against the stronger teams, the better prepared we will be for the tournament."
Deep Grace Ekka added:
"Everyone is focusing on their fitness and paying more attention to the post-match recovery process to be prepared for the tournament. The upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League games are a great platform as they will also assist us in adapting to the conditions there."