The Indian women’s hockey team have congregated after a short break at the Sports Authority of India’s campus in Bengaluru, as they look to build on the success of the bronze medal at the recently concluded Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Indian women’s hockey team have had quite the year and more, starting from the momentous 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games up until Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and will now turn their attention to the all-important FIH Women’s Hockey Nations Cup in Valencia, in Spain, beginning 10th December.

Looking back at the Commonwealth Games, ace defender Deep Grace Ekka feels the bronze medal is an important moment in the team’s journey.

“We would have liked to play the final in Birmingham for sure, but winning bronze was a big achievement for us. Standing on the podium is a moment we will never forget. It’s a big morale booster for the entire team,” she said.

One of the mainstays in the Indian defence, Deep Grace hopes the team can continue to build on the momentum going ahead. Speaking on return to the national camp in Bengaluru she said, “We did well in Birmingham, but now that is a closed chapter. We have had a good break and now we have to get back to work. I am sure the coach Janneke Schopman will assess our previous performance and plan the upcoming days in camp accordingly.”

The Savita Punia-led team is set for a longish camp before their next outing and the experienced defender expects to be put through the hard yards ahead of their next assignment.

“We have to do well in Spain in the FIH Women’s Hockey Nations Cup, and for that the preparation begins from today. It won’t be easy but training hard and doing the right things repeatedly during our sessions is the only thing we can do,” she explained.

The one-week long tournament in Spain will see the winners get promoted to the FIH Hockey Pro League. India finished third in their debut campaign in the 2021-22 season.

“Our aim in Spain will be to progress to the FIH Hockey Women’s Pro League and for that we have to win the Nations Cup. Our target is in front of us, now it’s up to us to make sure we build in the correct direction,” the veteran of 240 games signed off.