Fitness will be key as the Indian women's hockey team eye consistency in the run-up to next year's Tokyo Olympics, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said on Saturday.
After becoming a hockey hub in recent past, Bhubaneswar will host the Netherlands first in the second edition of the Hockey Pro League on January 18.
After securing a Tokyo Olympics berth in the qualifiers against Russia, the team is currently undergoing a three-week training and conditioning camp in Bhubaneshwar which will conclude on December 8.
Manpreet Singh stressed on the strong pool of players India boasts of at the moment and said their exposure at the international level in the coming years will ensure they have a strong and formidable team for the 2023 World Cup.
The Executive Board of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) have also decided to name Spain and the Netherlands as the co-hosts the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup.
After opting out of the inaugural tournament last year, the Indian men's hockey team will open its campaign in the FIH Pro League against The Netherlands at home in January next year.
From being shy of building physiques, to emulating world beaters like Vinesh and Mary, women's hockey team scoring fitness goals.
With language being the main barrier, Marijne said he had to develop an alternate way to extract basic information about his players: Why do they take a particular decision? What is their personality like? How do they react under stress? What do they like?
Graham Reid is looking to put his disastrous 2016 Rio campaign for Kookaburras behind him, and work forward with India after qualifying into next year's even with victories over Russia in the Olympic Qualifiers.
India began the second Olympic qualifier with a 5-1 lead over the US, a team they had never beaten in International Hockey Federation tournaments before Friday.
The Indian women's hockey team sealed its place in next year's Olympics after beating USA 6-5 on aggregate despite losing the second match 1-4 against the visitors in the double-leg qualifiers.
The Indian women's hockey team has qualified for the Olympics for only the third time. However, they were down by 4 goals before captain Rani Rampal came to the rescue with 12 minutes left on the clock on Saturday.
India qualified for their 20th Olympics, in which they have won eight gold medals, after beating Russia 11-3 on aggregate scoreline with a Akashdeep Singh brace sealing the deal in the second leg.
After beating USA 6-5 on aggregate, the Indian women's team have made it to the 2020 Olympics, making it only the third time they have qualified for the Olympics, after 1980 and 2016.
Like most women players in the country, Gurjit has been in the national team set-up from the time she was a teenager. “I got a few opportunities to play but in important series, I was not getting chances,” she says.
Brandishing a clinical game, India’s women make short work of the Americans to reach a step closer to realising the Olympic dream
Despite the gorge in world rankings, Russia dished out a fighting effort to surprise the hosts and keep the difference of goals to just two, after Mandeep Singh had bagged a brace with Harmanpreet Singh and SV Sunil, both bagging one each.
After Gurjit Kaur's brace and goals from Lilima Minz, Sharmila Devi and Navneet Kaur, India now need to defend their four-goal advantage in Saturday's second leg against USA to seal their Tokyo 2020 ticket.
When the two teams met in the first round of Olympic qualifiers – the FIH Series Finals – four months ago at the Kalinga Stadium, which will host Friday’s match as well, India won 10-0.
USA showed how far India was in world hockey, now hosts have a chance to beat them to book Tokyo berth.