Indian women's hockey midfielder Neha Goyal was an integral part of the team that finished fourth at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Although India missed out on a medal by a narrow margin, Neha has drawn a lot of positives from the journey.
India's performance has inflicted a dose of confidence and a lot of self-belief among the women's team players. In a Hockey India release, Neha said:
"Our performance at the Tokyo Olympics has changed our mentality and given us the self-belief to compete with any team in the world. Our win over Australia in the quarter-finals brought about a shift in our mentality."
Neha spoke of the difficult match at the Olympics against Australia. She said:
"Coming into that match, Australia had topped the Pool by winning all their matches. Defeating them gave us a lot of confidence, which we will carry with us going forward as we prepare to play more important tournaments in the future. Along with a change in our mentality, we have improved our training and fitness levels as well."
Making her Olympic debut for India stands out as a landmark moment for Neha in her career thus far. She also felt that going into the Tokyo Olympics, India's tour of Argentina and Germany has helped them perform well at the Summer Games.
"I was nervous before the occasion, but very excited. It has always been my dream to play in the Olympics since I started playing hockey. This was my first time, so I did not take too much pressure upon myself and tried to enjoy the moment."
"I also gained some confidence in our tours of Argentina and Germany before the Olympics, where I felt that we were able to compete well with some really good teams. In the end, the team performed well, and I was happy with my individual performance over the course of the tournament as well," said Neha.
Neha aims at polishing her game ahead of 2022 Asian Games:
Moving forward, Neha's ambition is to polish her individual game so that she can continue to contribute to the success of the team in future competitions. The 24-year-old Indian midfielder said:
"As a team, our next goal is to do well at the Asian Games and the World Cup next year. I am continuing to work on my own game so I can continue to contribute to the team's fortunes. I feel I am a skilful player, and attacking comes more naturally to me, but I want to maintain a balance in my game."