The Hockey Indian women’s team are all set to play against the USA women’s hockey team in India’s hockey mecca – Odisha on November 1 and 2 for a berth in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
While India have qualified for this round after claiming the title victory at the FIH Series Finals 2019 in Hiroshima, the USA women’s hockey teams have qualified on the basis of their current ranking and points.
Speaking about the event, Midfielder Sushila Chanu said she is confident of the Indian women’s hockey team qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. She also stated that India has made a lot of improvement since their last Olympic outing.
“We know how it felt representing India at the Rio Olympics 2016 when we qualified for it after a gap of 36-years. However, when we came back from that outing, there was a unanimous feeling around the group that we need to push ourselves and make sure we consistently put in the performances which will help us in qualifying for the next edition,” Sushila said.
“We have made huge strides from the previous Olympics, and now we are all very determined to secure our place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said the 26-year-old Sushila who captained the side at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
India’s performance at the Rio Olympics was beyond disastrous as the team crashed out in the preliminary stage having lost four matches and drawing one to finish at the bottom of the group.
“We have 10 players in this current side who were there in Rio as well, and all of us collectively want to experience that feeling again. Not just that, we want to win a medal for the country this time in Tokyo,” said the midfielder from Manipur.
“We have the best opportunity to qualify for Tokyo, as we are playing at home against USA. We will have the support of the home crowd, and even though USA are a strong unit, we have full belief in ourselves and in the way we play.
“We have made huge strides in our game from 2016 and now is the time to show it to the world that India is here to challenge for the top honours, regardless of the opposition we face. That is the kind of confidence we have and we are determined to produce the results in the Olympic Qualifiers,” Sushila said.
Having missed two major tournaments last year due to a long-term injury, the midfielder returned to the side at the start of this year. She said the journey back to the team has been a tough one.
“It was unfortunate that I suffered a long-term injury in 2018, and had to miss major tournaments like the 2018Women’s Hockey World Cup in London, the 2018 Asian Games and the AHF Women’s Champions Trophy. It was a difficult period for me personally as I was low on confidence. But, i am happy to back on my feet, thanks to my friends and family.” Sushila said.
The India vs USA women’s hockey Olympic Qualifier clash will take place in India’s hockey mecca – Odisha on November 1 and 2.
The world number 9 Indian team stand four places above the USA WNT. Both teams have arrived in Bhubaneswar, Odisha and are currently training at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium.