The midfielder was a part of the Indian team that played at the Rio Games.

With less than 50 days to go for the Toko Olympics, there is a lot of excitement among the members of the Indian women’s hockey team who is currently training in a bio-secure environment at the SAI Centre, Bengaluru. While the selection of the final 16 players who will represent the country in women’s hockey in Tokyo is awaited, senior player Namita Toppo reflected the mood in the team.

She said, “There is a lot of excitement, at the same time there is a bit of nervousness too. Over the past three years, a very talented bunch of young players have made it to the senior core group who have really done well for the team in international tours, and they have also gained experience of playing in big-ticket events including the Asian Games and the World Cup so, in that sense, it’s not guaranteed that any players have an assured place in the team for the Olympics.”  

Namita Toppo stated that all the players will have to give it their all in every single session if they want to see themselves in the final 16 for Tokyo. She has over 160 international caps for India and was also part of the team that represented India at the Rio Olympics for the first time in 36 years.

“No one is taking their place for granted in the team. We have been working doubly hard and there is a great sense of competition within the core group at the same time there is a strong team-comes-first mentality among the players too,” said the senior player. 

Namita Toppo also shed some light on the team’s preparations and areas of focus ahead of the Games. She remarked, “Fitness continues to be a key area of focus. The weather in Tokyo is going to be quite challenging and our training sessions are planned in such a way that our biological clock is set to the time we will be playing matches in Tokyo.”

“We are also playing a lot of internal matches to build that match-momentum. There is just a lot of enthusiasm in the team with less than 50 days for the Games to begin and we are not letting any external factor affect our excitement.”

Speaking of the prospects of playing at the Olympic Games for the second time, Toppo said, “It would be fantastic if I get to play in the Olympics for the second time. But for now, my focus is to continue working hard and execute on a daily basis what is expected of me from the coaching staff.”   

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