Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Ace striker Navneet Kaur has opined that this is the right time for aspiring women players to take up the sport as besides recognition, equal status and opportunities the fan-following for women’s hockey too has grown considerably in the past couple of years.
“I believe this is the golden period for women’s hockey in India. We are given equal importance, job security, financial benefits through cash awards when we win, all these are great encouraging factors to take up the sport professionally,” said the striker who made her international debut in 2014 at the India Vs Ireland Test Series,
Talking to Hockey India in Bengaluru ,Navneet who has made 79 appearances for the country so far, said “I feel the following for our team has also grown tremendously since our improved performances at the 2018 Women’s World Cup, Asia Cup, Asian Games and Asian Champions Trophy.
“It is very motivating to see fans leaving us messages on social media and expressing their support to us. I give credit to Hockey India who have given significant importance to the growth of women’s hockey and they ensure there are no shortcomings in our preparations for events. Even when a player is injured, they ensure we get the best treatment and rehab,” she said.
She was of the view that senior players always emphasis that the youngsters must respect the facilities they have today and this should encourage them to do better in the sport. “Players like Rani and Savita who have been with the team for over a decade always tell us how things have improved for women’s hockey over the years and how fortunate we are to be part of the team now.
“They motivate us to ride on this support to perform better in top events. We know that not only our lives will change if we win a medal at the Olympics but it will grow the sport by many folds in India,” she said.
Talking about the on-going National Coaching Camp in SAI, Bengaluru, Navneet said, “Our intensity has increased this week onwards and we are able to take more load without facing any fatigue. We are happy that we are hitting the same fitness levels prior to the lockdown.
“The best part is that, since we continued our fitness regime through indoor workouts during the series of lockdowns none of us put on weight. These factors have helped us a lot,” she added