Hockey World League Semi-Final 2017: Mary Kom inspires Indian women's team ahead of tournament

New Delhi: Battling against odds has been the hallmark of her illustrious career and that's precisely what MC Mary Kom told the members of the Indian women's hockey team as they embark on their journey to qualify for 2018 World Cup to be held in London.

Five-time world champion and London Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom had a surprise session with Indian eves yesterday ahead of their departure for the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final to be held in Johannesburg from 8-23 July.

"We did everything in our capacity to prepare ourselves for the event. We even had an hour long inspirational session with Mary Kom yesterday. It was a surprise for the girls and they really liked it very much," Indian women's hockey team chief coach Marije Sjoerd told PTI.

 Hockey World League Semi-Final 2017: Mary Kom inspires Indian womens team ahead of tournament

The Indian women's hockey team with Mary Kom. Image courtesy: Twitter/@SjoerdMarijne

The Indian eves, clubbed in a tough Pool B along side World No 3 Argentina, world no. 6 USA besides hosts South Africa and Chile, will have to finish in top five to qualify for the World Cup.

The coach really liked how Mary interacted with the girls and inspired them with her life story.

"During the session Mary told her story to the girls. She talked about all the hardships she overcame. She talked about how important is the mental preparation. It was really an inspirational session," he said.

Marijne said the Indian girls are presently in a much better shape and he is confident of a positive result from the upcoming tournament.

"Our goal is to qualify for the World Cup. Argentina and USA are two higher ranked teams in our pool but er are not at all bothered about our opponents. We are just focusing on our our game," the Dutchman said.

Just after taking charge of the team, he once said what Indian eves lack is self belief but Marijne is quite happy with the progress they have made on that front.

"The self belief is getting much better. The better the results the higher will be the confidence of the girls. They have also improved their fitness a lot. They now can play harder," he said.

Before the tournament starts, India will play two practice games against England and Ireland, which the coach feels will give him an idea about where his wards stand in front of their rivals.

India will open their campaign in the tournament against hosts South Africa on 8 July followed by matches against USA (on 10 July), Chile (12 July) and Argentina (16 July).

Updated Date: Jun 29, 2017 22:45:59 IST