Introspection over, time to start afresh and work on shortcomings: Sushila Chanu
India finished a disappointing ninth in this year's FIH Women's World Cup in July but bagged their first medal at Commonwealth Games in 16 years by winning a bronze in Birmingham.
Bengaluru: Introspection already done, senior Indian women’s hockey team midfielder Sushila Chanu on Wednesday said the need of the hour is to start with a fresh perspective and work on the grey areas that came to light in their last two tournaments.
India finished a disappointing ninth in this year’s FIH Women’s World Cup in July but bagged their first medal at Commonwealth Games in 16 years by winning a bronze in Birmingham.
The Indian women are currently training at the national camp here ahead of their next big assignment — the inaugural FIH Nations Cup to be held in Valencia, Spain from 10 to 17 December.
“We have had a lot of time here in SAI to introspect on our performances in the previous tournaments — FIH Women’s World Cup and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Sushila said in a Hockey India release.
“We are training with a fresh perspective now and with focus on areas in which we fell short during these two outings.”
In the Nations Cup, a qualifying tournament for 2023-24 FIH Pro League, India are placed in Pool B along side Canada, Japan and South Africa while Ireland, Italy, Korea and Spain are in Pool A.
The 30-year-old player from Manipur is a veteran of 220 international caps and was also captain of the side in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Despite being a stalwart, Sushila knows it would be a big mistake to take her place for granted in the side with a host of young players making their presence felt in the pitch of late.
“There are a bunch of youngsters who are giving their 100 per cent in training every day and it is good to see them push us to do well too. Certainly, as seniors we can’t take our place in the team for granted as we also need to show that we are in the reckoning to play big tournaments.
“I feel this internal competition is good for the team and we are moving in the right direction,” she said.
Sushila also emphasised on the importance of fitness in modern day hockey.
“Working on fitness and speed has been a priority for us and it remains our main focus in this camp as well.
“Playing with good speed and optimal fitness level was our plus point during the Olympic Games, which helped us in getting good results. Fitness will continue to be the key to our performance when we play back-to-back matches in Nations Cup,” she signed off.
Players are aware of what is at stake: India coach Janneke Schopman ahead of FIH Women's Nations Cup
The winner of FIH Women's Nations Cup will be promoted to the 2023-24 Pro League.
The famous win also kept the five-match series alive with Australia leading 2-1.
The Kookaburras, who had registered a narrow 5-4 victory in the opening game on Saturday, extended their winning streak against the Indians to 12 matches with the latest result.