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Women’s Hockey Team Building towards Nations Cup with Learnings from World Cup: Neha Goyal

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With the FIH Nations Cup in December this year, charismatic Indian women’s hockey team midfielder Neha Goyal says the side is gradually building towards the event in Valencia (Spain), with the learning from the dismal World Cup campaign and the bronze medal-winning performance at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games being part of the training programme in Bengaluru.

Neha, who hails from Haryana, said the team is building on these “positive qualities” that will hold them in good stead in big-ticket events.

“I feel with most of us in the team gaining strong international experience and having dealt with tough game-situations have grown from strength to strength. I feel we are poised for better results in the upcoming tournaments. There is good synergy in the group and this shows in how we perform,” Neha said.

The team’s historic bronze at Birmingham 2022 is only a stepping stone towards greater results to come, believes Neha, who has faced several odds in her personal life to make a career out of hockey.

“There is a great atmosphere in the SAI campus with both Indian teams and junior squads camping there. Apart from good facilities, there is an air of positivity there and both teams push each other to do well. We are fortunate that way,” said Neha.

Talking about the team’s positive trajectory, Neha said, “If you see our performance in the last two years, we have been consistent in doing well against top teams of the world. Even if there have been matches where the result hasn’t gone our way, we have bounced back from the disappointment only to work towards getting a favourable outcome.”

She further stressed on the team’s World Cup outing where things didn’t go their way but they rallied to bounce back from the disappointment of losing the crossover match against Spain.

“It’s never easy to bounce back as a team from a disappointment like that. We lost by a goal to the home team Spain. But it is the team’s strength to overcome a setback. We tell ourselves every match is a new beginning, and we can fight for better results till the last second. This is what helped us bounce back after the match against Australia too in the CWG,” she said.

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