The Indian women’s hockey team put up a brilliant performance at the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo as they defeated hosts Japan 2-1 in the final to win the competition. Captain Rani said this feat will give the team boost for the upcoming tour of England and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
“It was incredible to remain unbeaten throughout the Olympic Test Event. The hard work put in by all the players in the various training camps ahead of the tournament paid dividends. A victory in this tournament gives us a lot of confidence ahead of the Tour of England and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers,” said Rani.
The Indian team started the tournament with a superb 2-1 victory over hosts Japan, before playing out a 2-2 draw with Australia in their second match. India then drew 0-0 with China in their last round-robin match. Rani was all praise for drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, who was the top-scorer of the competition with three goals.
“Gurjit has improved immensely in the last couple of years. She was the top-scorer at the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 and the Olympic Test Event. Gurjit is a vital player for us as a drag-flicker and I am delighted to see her in form ahead of important tournaments for us,” said Rani.
Captain expressed that a side is a well-settled unit and all players are extremely clear about their roles. The team is peaking at the right time and they couldn’t have been in better form going into the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in November.
“After wonderful performances at the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 and the Olympic Test Event, our team consists of players who are very clear about their roles and perform them industriously on the field. We have gained momentum at the right time and have to keep improving our skills as the team approaches the FIH Olympic Qualifiers,” said Rani. Striker Rani, who was named the Best Player at the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019, has been leading the Indian side for more than two years.
India could not seal a direct place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after a heart-breaking loss to Japan in the Asian Games Final in 2018. However, the Indian side, who beat Japan in the Final of the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 and Olympic Test Event, is confident of achieving their goal in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
“We still have to improve in certain areas, but the team is confident of booking a place in the Tokyo Olympics. Our preparations have been excellent so far and we have to just keep building on our game. The Olympic Test Event was very helpful to understand the level of our game as we played against some strong teams including world number two Australia. Our only aim is to qualify for the Olympics and I feel we are on the right track,” Rani said.