PANAJI: With less than 50 days to go for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, there is a lot of excitement among the members of the Indian women’s hockey Olympic core probable group, who are currently training in a bio-secure environment at the SAI Centre, Bengaluru, says a press release by Hockey India.

While the selection of the final 16 players who will represent the country in women’s hockey in Tokyo is awaited, senior player Namita Toppo reflected the mood in the team. She said, “There is a lot of excitement, at the same time there is a bit of nervousness too.”

“Over the past three years, a very talented bunch of young players have made it to the Senior Core Group who have really done well for the team in international tours, and they have also gained experience of playing in big-ticket events including the Asian Games and the World Cup so in that sense, it’s not guaranteed that any players has an assured place in the team for the Olympics,” she added.

Namita, who has over 160 international caps for India and was also part of the team that represented India at the Rio Olympics for the first time in 36 years, said that all the players will have to give it their all in every single session if they want to see themselves in the final 16 for Tokyo. “No one is taking their place for granted in the team. We have been working doubly hard and there is a great sense of competition within the core group at the same time there is a strong team-comes-first mentality among the players too,” added the senior player.

Toppo also shed some light on the team’s preparations and areas of focus ahead of the Games. She said, “Fitness continues to be a key area of focus. The weather in Tokyo is going to be quite challenging and our training sessions are planned in such a way that our biological clock is set to the time we will be playing matches in Tokyo.”

“We are also playing a lot of internal matches to build that match-momentum. There is just a lot of enthusiasm in the team with less than 50 days for the Games to begin and we are not letting any external factor affect our excitement.” Toppo added.

Speaking of the prospects of playing at the Olympic Games for the second time, Toppo said, “It would be fantastic if I get to play in the Olympics for the second time. But for now, my focus is to continue working hard and execute on a daily basis what is expected of me from the coaching staff.”


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