Savita’s side will hope to carry momentum from the Olympics in the tournament
The Indian women’s hockey team will look to carry on the momentum from the historic Tokyo Olympic campaign when it opens its title defence against Malaysia in the Asia Cup here on Friday.
The Indian women recorded their best-ever Olympic result after finishing fourth in Tokyo last year, narrowly missing out on a podium.
The Savita Punia-led side, the most experienced in the tournament, will now be hoping to use that experience to good effect in its first major event after the Olympics.
Goalkeeper Savita will lead the side in the absence of Rani Rampal, who has been rested to recover from a hamstring injury.
“The best part about this team is that, many of us have been playing together for a long time and I feel this experience and team camaraderie will give us the edge over other teams.
“Our main priority will be to remain focused on our game and ensure we execute the plans against each team without making errors,” Savita said on the eve of their opener.
The defending champion is grouped in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
After Malaysia, the Indians will play against Japan on Sunday before squaring off against Singapore in their final pool game on January 24.
The Indian skipper also emphasised on the need to make a positive start to the tournament.
“We have played Malaysia quite a few times in the past and they are a good side. Doing well against them will give us the right start to the tournament,” Savita said.
“As a team, we believe in focusing on our own game and not worry too much about what the opponent team can or cannot do. We just want to play to our strength.” The Tokyo campaign has also been instrumental in instilling a ‘never-give-up’ attitude in the players,” she said.
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