Tokyo Olympics 2020: India women's hockey team can create history at Games, says ex-goalkeeper Helen Mary

The Indian women's team has made rapid strides at the world level with significant performances in major tournaments over the past three to four years.

Press Trust of India May 15, 2021 16:48:18 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: India women's hockey team can create history at Games, says ex-goalkeeper Helen Mary

India women's hockey team. Image: Hockey India

New Delhi: Fine-tuning a few aspects of their game in the run-up to the Olympics will help the Indian women's hockey players create history by finishing on the podium in the marquee event, according to former goalkeeper Helen Mary.

The Indian women's team has made rapid strides at the world level with significant performances in major tournaments over the past three to four years.

"The way they played in Argentina and Germany recently, I feel they are 90 per cent ready, some fine tuning of their game in the upcoming weeks and I surely believe they can create history in Tokyo. The tri-colours will fly high in Tokyo," Helen said on a Hockey Indian podcast "Hockey Te Charcha'.

"The way they played in Argentina recently, even though they couldn't register a win against the world No 2 squad, the style they played and the confidence they showed while playing against the home team on their home ground, was something I have never seen in them before," she added.

Helen, who had closely worked with the Indian women's side ahead of the Rio Olympics as the team's goalkeeping coach, made her international debut in 1992.

In her career spanning over a decade, she contributed to the team's success at several top international tournaments, including the historic golds in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2004 Asia Cup, silver at the 1998 Asian Games among several other feats.

Drawing comparison to the support system they had during her heyday to the current Indian set up, Helen said that there is a more systematic and scientific approach in place now.

"There is a stark difference in how the teams train today and how we trained. The approach they have now is very scientific and it's great that the team has a big support staff who look into every small detail right from fitness, diet, recovery to workload every week.

"Everything is planned in advance and each player's progress is mapped on a day-to-day basis. I sometimes regret that we didn't have this kind of systematic approach when we played."

The former custodian also spoke about former player and coach MK Kaushik who died after battling COVID-19 last week.

"He was our godfather. He was responsible for moulding our careers. He showed us the right path in hockey.

"He was a true task master. We were so disciplined because he was that strict and I would say it was this discipline that he had inculcated in us that made us a successful team."

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