The Indian hockey women’s team has been undergoing a rigorous 27-day training camp since February 16, in preparation for the sixth Women’s Asian Championships Trophy 2020 in South Korea before the 2020 Olympics gets underway the month after.
One of the key areas on the agenda of the Senior Women National Camp, being conducted at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru, was improving overall fitness.
Sizzling times for Indian hockey women’s team
Toward that end, Chief Coach Sjoerde Marijne is making his team tough it out under hot, sultry conditions, in an effort to condition the Indian hockey women’s team for similar weather conditions expected during the 2020 Olympics.
Speaking to Hockey India, ace dragflicker-defender Gurjit Kaur said, “Usually we would train on the pitch between 8am and 10am in the morning and 4pm to 6pm in the evening but now we train around noon or 2 PM under the afternoon sun. The training is intense and it's not easy to keep up speed in these conditions.”
Peaking at the right time
It’s not just at the training camp where this mentality exists but even the way the team has planned its fixtures in the months leading up to the 2020 Olympics.
“Our tours and matches are being planned in such a way that we peak at the right time and our performance has been steadily improving.
“The way we played the New Zealand tour, we could feel the improvement in our performance, especially in comparison to the previous year (2018) when we toured New Zealand.”
“The gap was narrowed to one goal from earlier when the goal difference was a lot. We even won big against the team,” Gurjit Kaur pointed out.
Gurjit Kaur stepping up as defender
Over the past two years, Gurjit Kaur’s drag-flicking prowess has been a boon for the Indian hockey women’s team but all the while, she has been blooming as a capable defender as well.
“We had seniors like Sunita Lakra and we have Deep Grace who is now the senior-most defender in the team, but yes, I have had to step up and take up more responsibility as a defender and I will continue to focus more on my defending abilities too,” said Kaur.
The Indian hockey women's team will be hoping this intensive period of testing under trying weather will bear fruit during the sixth Women’s Asian Championships Trophy 2020 in South Korea this June, a month that marks the beginning of the monsoon season when a spike in humidity ups the heat.