Updated January 8th, 2024 at 15:37 IST
Indian women's hockey team confident of making 3rd successive Olympics: Navneet Kaur
Attacking midfielder Navneet Kaur stated on Monday that the Indian women's team is optimistic about earning a spot in the Olympics for the third time in a row and that their familiarity with the local circumstances will help them ahead of the eight-team hockey Olympic Qualifiers.
Indian women's team is confident of booking a third successive Olympic berth and its knowledge of the conditions here will put it in good stead ahead of the eight-team hockey Olympic Qualifiers, said attacking midfielder Navneet Kaur on Monday.
The Indian team, led by Savita Punia, had won the Asian Champions Trophy at the same venue of Marang Gomke Jaypal Singh Mundha AstroTurf Hockey Stadium in November last year.
The hosts defeated Japan 4-0 in the final to secure their second consecutive title in the competition.
"Arriving in Ranchi early has helped us gain quite a few sessions on the main pitch and it has also helped us acclimatise to this weather," Navneet said in a Hockey India release.
"Since we have also played in this venue before, during the Women's Asian Champions Trophy, we know the pitch well." Fuelled by their historic fourth-place finish in the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Indian side spent about a week understanding the conditions. The Indian members also visited and trained at some venues in Kunti district.
"We also went and trained in Kunti district which is home to some of our teammates and it was incredible to see the excitement on the children's faces who had come to cheer us," Navneet said.
Placed in Pool B, India's campaign kicks off with a clash against the United States on Saturday, followed by their match against New Zealand the next day. After a day's rest, India face Italy on January 16.
Pool A comprises World No 5 Germany, former Asian Games Champions Japan, Chile, and Czech Republic.
"We are upbeat and eager to get on with our campaign. After our Tokyo Olympics performance, the expectations are high and we want to live up to the billing. We are well-prepared for the event and are confident of a good show," Navneet said.
The top two teams from each Pool will qualify for the semi-finals and the teams that finish in top-3 will earn a ticket to Paris 2024.
The semi-finals are scheduled for January 18, with the grand final and bronze play-off set to take place on January 19.
The event was originally slated to be held in China, but Hockey India requested FIH to shift the venue to India after China Women's directly qualified for the Paris Olympics.
Published January 8th, 2024 at 15:37 IST