The Indian Women Hockey team returned home amidst fans and family after a 7th place finish in the just concluded Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015 in New Zealand. While the team ended in the 7th position among 8 participating, they have come back home with many positives and learning. These insights into their game will be used to their benefit for the upcoming FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final slated in June.
The team has to its credit of holding 2nd ranked team Australia to a 0-0 draw wherein not only they successfully kept them at bay but even during the game gave some jittery moments to the opponents and a chance to go one up in the game. The team while playing against New Zealand had a good start wherein they scored just six minutes into the game in quarter finals at Hawke’s Bay Cup. While India lost the match from thereon, but it was India who made the initial attack and were bang on with the penalty corner. What was icing on the cake was India’s match against higher seeded FIH ranked Japan where trailing the game 0-2 India bounced back to claim the game 3-2 leaving everyone stunned and in awe.
Speaking from the Indira Gandhi International Airport after returning from Hawke’s Bay Cup, Roelant Oltmans, Director High Performance, Hockey India said, “While the team had to settle for the 7th position, we have drawn some very encouraging moments, which are the strengths of the girls as a team and which we have to work upon before the Hockey World League in June. They played against the top ranked teams and the way they countered the opponents left many astonished”.
Speaking post landing in Delhi while returning home from Hawke’s Bay Cup, Captain of India women Hockey team, Ritu Rani said, “We have come back with many positives along with the loopholes or the weaknesses. We will go back to the drawing board and chalk out a plan on how to build on our strengths, which will help take care of the weak areas. I think we need to work on converting those half chances through better ball possession”.
India will now be working towards gearing up for the upcoming Hockey World League Semi-Final and aim to book a berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics.