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Hockey Junior Women: Keen to win more tournaments, says striker Deepika
New Delhi, February 18, 2021
Talented striker Deepika Kumari feels that 2021 is a very important year for the Junior women's hockey team as two important tournaments -- World Cup and Asia Cup -- are slated to be held this year.
"Peaking at the right time will be the key with these two prestigious tournaments coming up later in the year," Deepika told Hockey India in Bengaluru.
The teenager from Hisar (Haryana ) has emerged as one of the Junior Women’s team’s potent weapons in attack which helped the Suman Devi Thoudam-led side register some stunning results.
Deepika scored two goals as her side went on an unbeaten run against Chile’s Junior and Senior teams. “I think we showed great fitness and character in our matches against Chile,” said the 17-year-old.
"It was challenging as we played six matches in the space of eight days, and fitness was one of the key factors to keep the tempo up in back-to-back matches.
"Personally, I am happy to have made important contributions and executed the plans made by the coaching staff. I hope to continue improving my game in the months ahead,” she said.
The fourth match of the tour saw her make the most telling contribution. Despite going behind twice, the visitors made a spirited comeback to earn a draw. It was Deepika who brought India back in the game with a well-taken goal in the third quarter.
The young striker is looking ahead after the Covid-19 pandemic robbed her of game time and match practice.
“We lost out on precious time last year with no training and competition due to the pandemic. Most of us were a little rusty when we played our first game in Santiago. But we managed to execute whatever we’d planned in our training sessions. The team environment also contributed. We want more of this (success) now,” she said.
“It was difficult (during lockdown months) as I was itching to be back on the field with my teammates. Hockey India and SAI were extremely helpful during this time, they ensured we were back in camp in time. And that kept me, and my teammates stay in rhythm.”
If the tour of Chile is any indication, it could be exciting times for Indian hockey fans in 2021.
“I have to sit down with my coaches,” said Deepika. “I trust them and my teammates completely. Expectations are huge (for the big-ticket tournaments) but I’m confident that we will do well in the Asia Cup, that is our immediate goal.
"I am proud to be wearing the India jersey and want to give my absolute best for the country,” she added.