Ahead of the 15th edition of the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup taking place in Spain and the Netherlands (1-17 July), we’re conducting a series of exclusive interviews with the participating teams. Today: Savita (IND).
Savita, India will play their 8th FIH Hockey Women's World Cup this year, with a best result in 1974 (4th place). What are your expectations as a team this time?
We are very excited to play in the World Cup. We just want to play as a team. For us, the Olympics was a great experience. We learnt a lot from there and we believe we have to play together and fight hard.
You had an excellent performance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Does it give you some confidence?
Of course, we are happy with our performance in Tokyo but somehow we missed the medal and we felt that pain also, and still today. But we learnt from there and we know that we can do better. Every training session, every day, we learn a lot from our coach Janneke. After the Olympics, everyone in our team is so motivated, so focused. We really want to play against good teams, so it is very nice for us.
Do you think that this result in Tokyo has changed a little bit the profile of women's hockey in India?
Yes, definitely. Now I think many more people, especially women but also men, want to play hockey in India, thanks to the performance of both the women’s and the men’s team at the Tokyo Olympics.
After the Games, many people came to us and asked how they can start playing hockey or at which age they should start. I think it is good for hockey in India.
You've played the FIH Hockey Pro League for the first time this year. What key learnings do you take from this experience?
We’re really happy that we played Pro League matches for the first time ever. We learnt a lot because we played against good teams. Definitely, these matches help us for the upcoming World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. Before that, we couldn’t play so many matches against good teams. But in Pro League we learn because, with the frequency of the matches, we can find out our mistakes and improve already for the next match. Our girls are enjoying to play back to back matches.
You’re in a Pool with China, England and New Zealand. How do you look at each of these teams?
Personally, I believe today in hockey every team is good. Of course, England, China and New Zealand are good teams. We’ve already played against them. But we have to focus on ourselves first. We will go match by match. We have to play together and we'll see.
Which message would you like to give to your fans?
I want to say thank you to them! They always support, motivate and encourage us. So, keep on and we also want to try to do our best.