Postponement hasn’t changed our target of winning Olympic medal: Namita

Bengaluru, April 23 (IANS) Indian womens hockey team midfielder Namita Toppo has said that the postponement of Tokyo Games has not changed their goal of winning an Olympic medal and they are working even harder to achieve the same.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed by a year and are now scheduled to be held in Summer 2021.

“Our target was always to win an Olympic medal, and even with the postponement, that does not change,” said Namita.

“It definitely gives us more time to be prepared for next year, and to perform really well. I feel our team is also fortunate enough to not have any ageing players, and this group of players has been playing together for a long time, and I believe one more year of experience will only help us in achieving our goal,” she added.

Namita, who now has more than 165 international caps for India, is currently spending time with the rest of the team at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Bengaluru .

The 24-year-old who had completed the feat of winning 150 international caps for the country in July 2018, returned to the side after a lengthy injury lay-off only in September 2019, and has since focused on catching up to speed with her teammates.

“I was really struggling when I was away from the team. It was close to 9-10 months that I was out of the side, and was nursing my injured knee. I had injured my meniscus, which basically means I had torn my knee cartilage during the Asian Games 2018.

“I was really worried at first because I was not sure how long it would take for me to come back, especially with the Olympics only a couple of years away. But when I look back now, I think that lengthy spell on the side-lines made me stronger,” said Namita.

“Initially it was really tough because I would have immense pain, and would wake up at night, and start to overthink. I believe my teammates and coaches played a huge role in making sure I was in the right frame of mind,” she added.

It was in September 2019 when Namita finally returned to the Indian team, and the midfielder called it one of the most satisfying days of her life.

“When I was finally fit and had regained my touch and sharpness in the national camp, and was included in the squad for England Tour, I was really happy because I had set a target for myself and I was able to achieve it.

“I wanted to help my side qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and playing in the England Tour gave me a chance to prove to chief coach that I should be in the team for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, which were to take place in November 2019,” said Namita, who eventually helped the Indian team in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.



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