"We are heading in the right direction of building a strong team for the Hockey Women's World Cup" - Savita Punia

India's women's team goalkeeper Savita Punia. (PC: Hockey India)
India's women's team goalkeeper Savita Punia. (PC: Hockey India)
Hari Kishore M

The Indian women's hockey team's core group, led by ace goalkeeper Savita Punia and other senior members, are currently in a preparatory camp. The camp is being held at the Sports Authority of India Center in Bengaluru.

The Indian women's hockey team has been on a high, emerging at the top of the points table after the FIH Pro League home leg matches. With the Women's World Cup in the Netherlands and Spain around the corner, the group is vigorously training and honing their skills.

The team has a strong pool of players, including outstanding performers from the Women's Junior World Cup. There is an air of healthy competition within the group.

India's goalkeeper and skipper for the FIH Pro League home leg, Savita Punia, said the players are giving it their all in training.

"There is a lot of excitement in the camp and players are giving their 100 per cent in training. With new players coming into the group by virtue of good performances in the Pro League and Junior World Cup, there is healthy competition within the group and this is helping in bringing out the best in each one of us."

Read: Indian women's hockey team headed in right direction ahead of World Cup, says coach Janneke Schopman

The custodian added that India are heading in the right direction by building a strong team for the World Cup as many players have gained international exposure.

"With more players getting international exposure, and having gained the confidence to play top teams in big-match scenarios, we are heading in the right direction of building a strong team for the all-important World Cup," Savita Punia explained.

Savita Punia aiming for a top-four finish at the World Cup

The Indian women's hockey team will play England, China and New Zealand in the league phase of the Women's World Cup. They will begin their quest for a world title with their first match against the English team on July 3.

Ahead of the prestigious quadrennial event, the Indian team will also play FIH Pro League matches in Belgium. They will take on the home team on June 11 and 12 followed by weekend matches in the Netherlands against Argentina on June 18 and 19 and the United States on June 21 and 22.

"There is a lot of hockey we will be playing in the weeks leading up to the World Cup, so there is a lot of emphasis on our fitness during this camp and we are also paying attention to the post-match recovery process," Savita Punia explained.

Also read: Bichu Devi Kharibam and her teammates gear up for FIH Pro League away matches

Savita Punia said the Indian team's target will be to reach the semi-finals having made it to the quarter-finals stage last time out.

"The Pro League matches in Belgium and the Netherlands will not only provide us a good base for the World Cup campaign but it will also help us acclimatize to the conditions there. We made it to the quarter-finals last time in London, and the aim this time is definitely to make it to the next level," Savita Punia concluded.

Having made the last eight in the 2018 edition of the World Cup, India fell against Ireland on penalties.

Also read: Hockey: Technical officer Sonia Bathla looking forward to Commonwealth Games

Edited by Anantaajith Ra


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