Having been promoted to the senior core group from the junior ranks, young defender Suman Devi Thoudam wants to make this opportunity count and learn all about playing under pressure from her counterparts who have returned from a historic outing at the Tokyo Olympics.Also Read - Indian Hockey Team Was Hugely Motivated Before Bronze-Medal Match: Simranjeet Singh

“I was in the junior camp here in SAI when the Olympics was going on and we were all glued to the TV during the Olympics. Every match India played was thrilling. Even though India couldn’t start well, I feel they still played extremely well against the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain. They are much more experienced than our team and yet we held strong against them but fell short,” said Suman Devi. Also Read - Hockey India Can't Unilaterally Pull out of CWG, Must Consult With Government: Anurag Thakur

“Watching the Indian team and how they bounced back in the tournament to beat Ireland, South Africa and Australia in the quarterfinal really inspired us a lot,” said Suman who led the Indian team during their successful tour to Argentina earlier this year. Also Read - Nothing is Certain But Want to Stay With This Team Till Paris Olympics: PR Sreejesh

From Singjamei Monkhanglambi in Imphal, Manipur, Suman has been a regular feature in the Indian camp and has also played alongside her senior compatriots in the tour of Spain in 2018. Suman will now vie to prove her mettle in the senior camp and find a regular place in the senior team.

“It’s not going to be easy because the core group is quite strong and I have to really prove myself in every session and make every opportunity count.”

She further expressed that her focus now will be on honing her skills in the camp. “I am not really thinking too much about cementing my place in the senior team. My focus right now is to learn as much as I can from the senior players who have had this great experience of playing in back-to-back Olympics.

“They have so much to share, particularly about playing under pressure and how one must not give up till the last whistle. I also really wanted to train under Janneke Schopman. She is a great player herself and I feel very fortunate to get this opportunity to be coached by her,” said Suman.