The heart-breaking loss on penalties to England, in the bronze medal match of the Hockey Junior Women’s World Cup, is now behind the Indian players. The junior squad is now looking to the future of finding their way into the senior team.
“We were all very upset after that match and some of us could not stop crying,” recalled the India goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam. “We were so close to standing on the podium and it was quite hard to accept the defeat.”
India ended regulation time with a 2-2 scoreline against England but then lost 3-0 in the shootout.
However, with the national camps resuming in SAI, Bengaluru, the players have let go of the bitterness of the defeat.
“We have moved on. The senior players spoke to us after that match and even chief coach Janneke (Schopman) gave us a talk on how it’s important to now move on and focus on the positive learnings from that tournament,” added Bichu.
“We also received so much love after we came back and many hockey fans messaged us personally and told us how we have to keep our chins up. It is very overwhelming to receive this kind of reaction despite losing the medal. This motivates us more to do well.”
Bichu, along with some of her teammates including the junior team vice-captain Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Sangita Kumari, among others have been credited for their performance with a place in the senior core group. The senior team, who finished on top of the pool table following their home games, are now preparing for the upcoming matches in FIH Hockey Pro League in Europe and the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup in Netherlands and Spain.
“We are looking at this as a new beginning and want to learn from this exposure with the senior camp. We have begun our preparations for the upcoming Pro League matches and the World Cup and my focus is on executing as per what is expected of me and I want to prove myself, work hard to find a place in the team,” she added.