The youngster is training for the upcoming tournaments.

The Indian junior women’s hockey team has begun training after nearly six months at the SAI centre in Bengaluru. All the athletes including talented Mumtaz Khan arrived for the camp on 5 October and underwent a two-week mandatory quarantine period before commencing activities this week.

Expressing the team’s excitement, Mumtaz Khan, who had scored a total of 10 goals at the Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires where India won a silver medal, said that it is a relief to be back on the field again.

“It was a new and challenging experience to be in quarantine for two weeks. It reminded me of my injury days when I had to limit my movement and was advised rest. I am happy and kind of relieved that we are finally back on the field,” stated the forward, who hails from Lucknow.

The youngster also has a bronze medal from the U-18 Asia Cup in 2016, silver from the Six-Nation Invitational Tournament from 2018 and a gold medal from the Cantor Fitzgerald U-21 Four-Nation tournament. She feels the regime the players were asked to follow when they were on a break helped them maintain their fitness.

Mumtaz Khan remarked, “When players come into Hockey India’s national program, a lot of awareness is created about fitness and diet. We are always told what to do when we are on a break, how to take care of ourselves, our weight etc. when there is no camp. We are usually given a particular regime to follow and when we were on a break, we were doing basic workouts at home during the lockdowns and once lockdowns ended, we would do basic running etc to work on our aerobic fitness.”

She also expressed gratitude towards her senior compatriots who egged them on via video calls during their quarantine period and said, “The senior women’s team who are also here would often make video calls to keep us encouraged and they would tell us about their experience in quarantine and how we can keep ourselves occupied. We are thankful to Hockey India and SAI for commencing our national camp again and providing such a safe environment to train.”

The Junior team will be working on hitting their old form and prepare for the Junior Asia Cup which will be a qualifying event for the FIH Junior Women’s World Cup.

“I feel we were in very good rhythm before the pandemic began. We had won important matches against good teams. Now we need to work on getting back to that same rhythm,” concluded Mumtaz Khan.