Star striker Vandana Katariya feels the Indian women’s hockey team has been making the right progression at the international level and the players remained focused on setting goals and achieving them going forward.
Vandana, a veteran of over 250 internationals matches, said by virtue of improved performances in tournaments of late, the world is now taking note of Indian women’s hockey. A testimony to Indian team’s improvement is nomination of several players in the FIH Star Awards. While captain Savita has been nominated for the Best Goalkeeper of the Year, young Mumtaz Khan has been nominated for the Rising Star of the Year award and chief coach Janneke Schopman is the vying for Coach of the Year recognition.
“I feel we are making the right strides. About three or four years ago, the team rarely made the cut for any awards as our performance was not up to the mark. But now, we have been making the right progression in international hockey and our performance is being recognized,” Vandana said in a release.
“It feels great to receive this kind of recognition which shows that our performances are at par with some of the top teams of the world, but we are still grounded and focused on our own targets.
“We have set short-term and long-term goals for the team and we are ticking the boxes, one-by-one,” she said. India’s next major international outing is the FIH Women’s Nations Cup in December but the team’s biggest aim remains a direct qualification for 2024 Paris Olympics through the Asian Games scheduled next year in Hangzhou, China.
“Everybody’s aim is to win the Asian Games next year and, in the lead up to that it is important we keep up the right momentum by doing well in tournaments like the Nations Cup which will help us qualify for the FIH Pro League matches. I would say, we are on the right path,” Vandana concluded.