Women’s team is prepared for heavy schedule

first_imgPlaying three major tournaments one after the other is a strain for any sportsperson, but the Indian women’s hockey team is trying to make the best of the situation.The team had its first training session after reaching the Capital for the Commonwealth Games and the team management wanted the players to get acclimatised to the surroundings.”The first session was a routine one and we did not work on any specific patterns,” chief coach Sandeep Somesh said after practice at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Friday.”It was a good session and the morale of the team is high.” The Indian squad returned from a ninth- place finish at the World Cup in Rosario, Argentina, and jumped straight into a training camp in Patiala early this month.A few days after the Commonwealth Games, the team will have to get prepared for the Asian Games, to be held in Guangzhou, China, in November.”We face this scenario every four years where the girls have three big tournaments one after the other, and we have been preparing accordingly,” coach Pritam Rani Siwach told M AIL T ODAY . ” It does have an impact on the team, though it is not an ideal situation.Playing major tournaments continuously can expose the players to the risk of injuries.Also, it is very difficult for the girls to peak again after a short interval,” she said.”To tide over this difficulty, we are doing relatively light training and working more on speed. We are having only one training session daily along with some weight training at the Games Village.advertisement”The team management is doing its utmost to keep the motivation level high. We are telling the girls that they will be playing in front of home crowds and it is important to give their best,” Siwach said.Somesh believes the World Cup outing has prepared the Indians for the mega event on home turf.”We are ranked 13th in the world and finished ninth (in the World Cup). That is a positive development.The victory over Japan was our first at the group stage. In the match against New Zealand, we paid the price for being reduced to nine players for a while after receiving two yellow cards.”In the lead- up to the Games, we would work to tighten our defence,” he said.On Friday, the girls went about their paces for 90 minutes and teenager Rani Rampal, who scored seven goals and was adjudged the best young player at the World Cup, was the cynosure of all eyes.”She is a talented player and has scored a lot of goals. But it is a team effort and she received a lot of good passes as well,” Siwach said.One small concern is an eye- flu virus afflicting the team. Forward Jasjeet Kaur Handa did not train with her teammates on Friday and did some running and stretching exercises by herself.”Jasjeet has eye- flu but she is better than she was yesterday. We thought it was best not to expose her to sunlight too much. Captain Surinder Kaur and defender Subhadra Pradhan had the problem earlier,” Siwach said.But the team is not letting these problems deter it from the task at hand. The Indians have strong teams such as Australia and South Africa in their pool.India has had a good record in the Commonwealth Games and the first goal is to make it to the semi- finals.”We are preparing specifically for each opponent. We are watching video footage and devising our strategies accordingly,” Siwach, part of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games gold medal winning team, said.last_img