Tokyo heartbreak still haunts Savita, says it reminds of unaccomplished mission | Hockey News

NEW DELHI: The pain of losing out on an Olympic medal still fresh in her mind, Indian women’s hockey team captain Savita said the Tokyo Games continues to remind them of their unaccomplished mission — finishing at the podium in the quadrennial showpiece.
The Indian women’s hockey team came agonisingly close to winning its maiden Olympic medal but had to be content with a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Games last year after losing to Great Britain 4-3 in the bronze medal match.
“We still feel the pain of missing an Olympic medal by a whisker and it reminds us every moment that our mission of winning an Olympic medal for the country is still incomplete. We will not rest until then,” Savita said.
“Everyone said that we won hearts in Tokyo but a medal is a medal after all. Only we can feel the pain of not winning a medal despite coming so near. That pain still hurts us.”
The Indian women’s team is all geared up for the World Cup to be held in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1.
Before that the Indians will play away matches against Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands and USA in the FIH Pro League.
Savita said they will leave no stone unturned to finish on the podium in the World Cup. India are clubbed along side England, China and New Zealand in Pool B.
“Almost all the teams have that played in the Olympics will be part of the World Cup. We will try to finish on the podium, which will be a morale booster for us before 2024 Paris Olympics,” the experienced goalkeeper said.
She feels FIH Pro League matches against quality sides will be a good preparation for India ahead of the World Cup.
“European teams keep playing against each other but for us FIH Pro League is one great opportunity to play some of the top teams before the World Cup. It will be a great platform to judge ourselves against the best teams,” Savita said.
The fourth place finish in Tokyo has brought women’s hockey into limelight, feels Savita.
“….people’s attitude towards women’s hockey has changed. They now wait for our matches and appreciate our performances. A new level of confidence, attitude and passion can be seen among the players too,” she said.
“Every player is now aware of her role in the team. Coach Janneke Schopman has been an Olympian herself and has set high standards for us. She expects the best from everyone. She says that mistakes are bound to happen but we must not give up.”
The Indian women’s team has attained career-best sixth spot in the recently-released world rankings and Savita says it proves the game is going in the right direction in the country.
“Whatever we are today is because of this game. We will keep working hard to maintain the standard. We cannot take any team lightly in the World Cup and work hard to do our best,” said Savita, who considers men’s team custodian PR Sreejesh as her idol.

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