Hockey
We can’t let our fans down, says Savita Punia ahead of Paris 2024 qualifiers

We can’t let our fans down, says Savita Punia ahead of Paris 2024 qualifiers

Indian women's hockey team captain Savita Punia feels that they cannot let the fans down at the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers, and are ready for the challenge.

The Indian women’s hockey team is on a high after the Asian Champions Trophy win recently in Jharkhand, and now a big test awaits them in the form of Paris 2024 Olympics qualifiers, which are scheduled to take place in January next year at the same venue.

Other than India, Germany, Japan, Chile, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, the United States, and Italy are set to compete in the upcoming tournament. The tournament will be played in two groups, with India in Pool B. Only the top three teams will go through to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Indian Women’s Hockey Team Captain Savita Punia Says

“We are confident in our abilities, and the rankings of opposing teams don’t faze us as we are ready to face all the tough teams that will be coming to India for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024,” Indian Captain Savita said of the upcoming tournament. At the prospects of facing Germany, Punia said, “We played Germany in July, so we know what we’re up against.”

The skipper added, “The support we received in Ranchi spurred us on. Home crowd can be an added pressure sometimes but we were mentally prepared. Janneke advised that such occasions come by rarely and that we should embrace them. The residents of Ranchi turned up in droves and we couldn’t let them down, we had to put on a show for them. The team knows that we will receive the same backing during the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024 as well and if people are coming to support us the onus is on us to repay their faith.”

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Indian Women’s Hockey Team Coach Janneke Schopman Says

savita punia paris 2024 olympic qualifier janneke schopman asian champions trophy

But it was coach Janneke Schopman, who gave a more realistic picture of the current situation. “A lot of things went well for us, but there are always areas where we can improve. We need to avoid unnecessary cards and make better use of our referrals. Similarly, with our attacking style of play, we have to face a lot of teams that play with 11 players behind their 25-yard line and we have to get better at creating opportunities playing against a closed defence,” she added.

“This tournament showed we are a tough team. So, we will continue to focus on ourselves, look for ways to improve and leave no stone unturned in our preparation for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024. After the Jharkhand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy Ranchi 2023, we are back on track and we need to keep doing the right things on the way to the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier Ranchi 2024. We are familiar with New Zealand, we played the United States as well in the FIH Pro League last year, but most importantly I am happy to take on these tough teams at home,” Janneke Schopman elaborated on the preparations.

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