We aim for Paris now, says goalkeeper Savita Punia

September 2, 2021

The women’s hockey team may have not won a medal this time but their stunning performance has moved every countrymen’s heart and they gathered praises from all around the world. With no doubt in mind, their triumph is much bigger than a medal!

While remembering the match day, goalkeeper Savita said, “Now that I have finally had some time to reflect on our performance, I do feel we achieved something outstanding, and the best part was the journey to get here over the past five years. We have endured a lot as a team and as individuals faced tremendous odds to reach this level. I think we will always cherish this journey.”

“Though we lost very closely to Argentina in the semi-finals, we wanted to give our everything against Great Britain and we really wanted that medal around our necks and after beating Australia, we really believed this was achievable,” continued Savita, as quoted by The New Indian Express. She is among six players who have been nominated for the FIH awards. In the category of Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award, her name is suggested along with Argentina’s Belen Succi and Great Britain’s Maddie Hinch.

Savita broke into tears after losing the adventurous Bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics. Her being consoled by the team’s Analytical Coach Jenneke Schopman depicted the entire nation’s feelings. The women in blue were regarded as the underdogs of the tournament. They stood 12th in Rio Olympics and a handful of people have predicted them to be medal competitors in Tokyo.

“But now I feel the expectations will grow. People have seen that we can perform at top tournaments, and I believe we can live up to these expectations. We now have the experience, and the team is poised to achieve bigger feats. The experience in Rio made us believe in ourselves and we really worked hard to get to this level, now we will work on taking it to the next level,” added she.

Savita said the team’s next goal is to play their best in the calendar year 2022. With a gap of just three years to the next Olympics, their focus is to dispose of outstanding matches at the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, aiming mainly to get on the podium in Paris.

“I actually can’t wait to return to camp in SAI, Bengaluru. It has become a place of comfort for us. There has been a lot of celebrations following the Olympics and now it’s time to get back to reality. Next year is crucial with the Asian Games and our priority will be to win Gold so we automatically qualify for the Paris Olympics. We will resume training with that target in mind,” she concluded.

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