The Indian junior women's hockey team landed in New Delhi on Wednesday after a fantastic Chile trip, where they remained unbeaten. They won five matches and drew once in Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Beauty Dungdung excelled in the tournament as she scored a hat-trick in their inaugural game and concluded the tour with a convincing brace.
Skipper Suman Thoudam was excited to get some competitive minutes under the belt as she has already set her sights on the Junior Asian Cup and Junior World Cup that are slated to be held later this year.
"We are very happy to have got the opportunity to resume competitive hockey after the pandemic. It was a very good experience for all the players and members of the support staff and it gives us huge confidence as we approach an important year ahead," Thoudam said.
"We are definitely keeping our eyes on the Junior Women's Asia Cup and the FIH Women's Junior World Cup both scheduled later this year."
The Indian team beat Chile junior team in both their encounters with score-lines of 5-3 and 4-2 in the first two matches of the tour.
"We felt like we were back at our best when we took to the field in Santiago. Whatever we have done in our training sessions, we could execute on the pitch against our opponents from Chile. Everyone was a bit rusty at the start, but we quickly got into a great rhythm, and you could see that with our performances against their Senior team," commented Suman, who plays as a defender for the Indian team.
They continued their rich vein of form when they faced Chile senior team, winning three of the four matches they played.
"The best part for me about our performances is that, not only were we strong in attack, but were very solid defensively. They tried to use their experience in the forward areas, but we showed great unity and resilience, so I'm really proud of the team," added the 21-year-old.
The team will now head for a two-week break before assembling again for the national camp on February 10.
"I think we showed great fitness in our matches against Chile, playing six matches in eight days, and still winning five of them. Now, it is about recovering and spending some time with our families, following all the guidelines, and then ensuring we are back in the national camp to prepare for this important year," she concluded.