The world’s No. 9 Indian women’s hockey team is currently working hard in training at Kalinga hockey stadium in front of their FIH Odisha hockey Olympic Qualifier where they face a tough test against No. 13 in the United States, and their experienced midfielder Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam believes the team is determined to put on the hard court and place their berths next year for Olympic games in Tokyo.
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Having missed two major tournaments last year due to a long-term injury, the midfielder returned to the side earlier this year, but said the journey back to the team was a difficult one. Unfortunately I had a long-term injury in 2018 and had to miss major tournaments like FIH Women Hockey Hockey World Cup London 2018, Asian Games 2018 and AHF Women Cup Champions Trophy.
The 26-year-old girl has 179 recognized International Hats, which has been a regular fixture in the Indian women’s hockey team since debuting with the 2009 Premium Team, and the captain of the Indian Team at the Rio Olympics.
Talking about her experience playing at the Olympics, Sushila likes to remember the moment when she led her team to the field. I had the honor of being named Captain of the Team in 2016, and it was a personal surreal experience.
I had always dreamed of playing for India at the Olympic Games and when they first got on the pitch in the first match against Japan, I got goosebumps. I just recovered from an ACL injury, and being captain in the biggest tournament was a proud and emotional moment for me.
Looking at the upcoming challenge of playing USA at home, Sushila said their opponents will pose a big threat but her team is ready. They have the best chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as they are playing at home against America. They will have the support of the home audience, and although the United States is a strong unit, they fully believe in ourselves and in the way they play.