Bengaluru, 07 August 2019: With both the Senior teams in their final week of preparation for the Olympic Test Event which takes place in Tokyo, Japan from August 17 – 21, 2019, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s Vice-Captain and Goalkeeper Savita has said that she believes that defending well against the likes of World No. 2 Australia, World No. 11 China and World No. 14 Japan will play a crucial role in determining if India can win the competition.

“We have a very talented bunch of players in our team, and these players have been playing together for a long time. We understand each other on and off the field, and it is something that helps us immensely to perform collectively. We also understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and are able to help out our teammates in crunch situations,” said 29-year-old Savita.

She continued, “We will be playing a very strong team in Australia who we played well against during last year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. It was a tough defeat to take as we lost by a solitary goal, and it was the Semi-Final of the tournament. However, we were proud of our performance, and to match the World No. 2 side in all departments is something that was good to see. This time, we need to make sure that we defend well as a unit, and not give them any easy chances. I feel that defense will be key in determining who wins the upcoming tournament in Tokyo.”

The Indian team is scheduled to leave for Tokyo this Sunday, and will play their first match against hosts Japan on 17th August 2019. Historically, Japan have had the upper hand in proceedings as they have won 34 out of the 65 matches played between the two teams, with India winning 15. However, in the last 10 meetings between the two teams, India have won three, while Japan have won four with three matches ending in draws.

Savita said that the win in the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 gave her team huge confidence of making it to the Tokyo Olympics 2020, and also to beat teams in important matches. “In the past couple of years we have had the chance to play in huge matches, but there have been times when we have lacked a bit. But I think the team has improved tremendously, and we can even match the likes of World No. 2 Australia. We need to focus on winning the big matches, and we showed that we are capable of doing it when we won the Final match of the FIH Women’s Series Finals by a scoreline of 3-1 in front of Japan home crowd,” said the ace Goalkeeper.

The Goalkeeper who has 193 International Caps for the Indian team also said that the team is focused on a more balanced approach, and place emphasis on both attacking and defending. “We know we have a team which can attack and defend aptly depending on the match situations. We have the players who can help us in both the aspects, and as the Goalkeeper,  what I try to do is help in organizing the defense, and also warn them when the opposition is getting into threatening positions. Coordination at the back will be a key area for us going into this important year ahead, and I am sure that we will come out in flying colors,” Savita signed off.

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