Indian Women’s Hockey Team are all set to embark on their journey to qualify for 2018 World Cup to be held in London.
Five-time world champion and London Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom paid a surprise visit to Indian eves and gave a season on Wednesday ahead of their departure for the FIH Hockey World League Semi Final to be held in Johannesburg from July 8 to 23.
“We did everything in our capacity to prepare ourselves for the event. We even had an hour long inspirational session with Mary Kom yesterday. It was a surprise for the girls and they really liked it very much,” Indian women’s hockey team chief coach Marije Sjoered told PTI.
The Indian eves are part of a tough Pool B which includes world no. 3 Argentina, world no. 6 USA besides hosts South Africa and Chile. Indian eves will have to finish in top five to qualify for the World Cup. The coach really liked how Mary interacted with the girls and inspired them with her life story.
“During the session Mary told her story to the girls. She talked about all the hardships she overcame. She talked about how important is the mental preparation. It was really an inspirational session,” he said.
“Our goal is to qualify for the World Cup. Argentina and USA are two higher ranked teams in our pool but we are not at all bothered about our opponents. We are just focussing on our game,” the Dutchman said.
Marijne is quite happy with the progress they have made on that front but the Indian eves lacked with self-belief.
“The self-belief is getting much better. The better the results the higher will be the confidence of the girls. They have also improved their fitness a lot. They now can play harder,” he said.
India will play two practice games against England and Ireland before the World Cup qualifiers which the coach feels will give him an idea about where we stand in front of their rivals.
India will begin the tournament against hosts South Africa on July 8 followed by matches against USA (on July 10), Chile (July 12) and Argentina (July 16).