Tokyo Olympics 2020: Postponement gives Indian women's hockey team scope to improve, says midfielder Salima Tete
Having debuted for India in early 2017 against Belarus, Tete became a young prodigy who was touted to be the next big thing in Indian hockey
Bengaluru: Indian women hockey team's young midfielder Salima Tete feels an extra year gives the side a lot of time to improve its game ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
The 24-member core probables for the Olympic Games are currently stationed at the SAI Centre where they continue to focus on individual fitness routine and workout in isolation.
"There is a lot of scope to improve our game in the next one year and by focusing on our fitness during the lockdown, we are in shape to re-start training once all this is over," Tete said.
"We are mentally prepared to work hard and face any challenges that come our way in our preparations for the Olympic Games," she added.
The Tokyo Games were pushed back by a year due to the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
Having debuted for India in early 2017 against Belarus, Tete became a young prodigy who was touted to be the next big thing in Indian hockey.
However, the 19-year-old struggled to impress in her first outing and it was not until last year that she became a regular in the senior squad.
"I lacked confidence when I played for the senior team in 2017. I was scared and that reflected in my game. It was not a memorable debut for me," she admitted.
She led the side in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018 alongside her deputy Siami Lalremsiami.
"It was at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games where I really stepped up my game. Siami and I would tell ourselves before every match that we have to lead the team from the front so that the rest of the squad would play with confidence. I feel the experience I gained from this multi-discipline event was a turning point."
Tete's performance in Buenos Aires where the team won the silver medal was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who applauded her efforts.
Tete, who is from a small hamlet in Simdega district, Jharkhand has since proved her potential in the Indian team, with Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne often trusting her with an important role in the midfield and in the backline.
"The seniors in the team have really helped me improve my performance. They constantly talk to me and encourage me especially when we play big teams like Australia, Spain or Japan. The year 2019 in specific was extremely good for the women's team and we have been on the right path," said Tete.
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