India women's hockey goalkeeper Savita Punia said that the team has their eyes set on breaking into the top five of the FIH world rankings in the next two years.
In an interview with Hockey India, Punia praised the team's recent performances at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers last year and the FIH Series Finals.
When asked about the team's goals, Punia said that a top-five position in the world is a major aim for the side. The Indian team is currently placed on the ninth spot in the official FIH rankings.
"We have worked with some of the best coaches from around the world and therefore we have been able to compete against the top sides in the recent past. With continued support from Hockey India and SAI, we certainly have the firepower to break into the top five of the FIH Rankings in the next two years," Punia said.
Punia also credited the well-defined structure in Indian hockey for being one of the crucial reasons for the success of the team in recent years.
"We have certainly worked hard for our performances; however, I would credit Hockey India for implementing a good structure, wherein we are working with good coaches, our physical fitness schedules are being monitored and we are following a strict diet as well," she added.
The 2018 Arjuna Awardee also said that it was tough to be away from hockey for a long time due to the lockdown. The team has effectively pressed a reset button and will have to work hard to get back in form again.
Hockey India and Sports Authority of India (SAI) are setting up protocols for the resumption of sporting activities at the SAI campus in Bengaluru in adherence to all the guidelines.
The Indian women's hockey team secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics 2021 when they defeated the United States at the FIH Olympic Qualifiers held in November last year. India overcame the United States 6-5 on aggregate in a two-match series held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.