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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Current, ex-hockey players shares CWG memories

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With the Birmingham Commonwealth Games a week away, the former and current players of the Indian women’s hockey team took a moment to share their memorable moments from the past editions of the prestigious tournament.

Former goalkeeper Helen Mary, who played an integral part in India’s historic gold medal victory at the Commonwealth Games 2002, said: “The way we fought back in the crossover match against South Africa boosted our morale. From 0-3 down in the first half to winning the match 4-3 in the extra time, set the tone for us. We then beat New Zealand 2-1 in the semifinal and went on to win against the hosts England 3-2 in the extra time. But it was an outcome of the hard work done in the past eight-nine months and the team unity was our biggest strength.

Ex-India skipper Asunta Lakra recalled her favourite moment from the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, where India clinched silver after losing 0-1 to the hosts Australia in the final.

“It was my first major tournament with the senior team and I scored my first goal in the opening game itself against Australia, so it is my favourite memory of the Commonwealth Games. We missed the Gold medal with a very narrow margin, but it was a great experience overall. We finished second in the pool stage and then defeated New Zealand 1-0 in the semifinal to ensure the second consecutive medal,” said Asunta.

Meanwhile, current players Navjot Kaur and Navneet Kaur also shared their unforgettable CWG moments.

Navjot, who featured in the 2014 and 2018 edition, said, “This will be my third Commonwealth Games, and it’s always an honour to represent India at the prestigious tournament. The win against England in the Pool stage in the last edition is one of my best memories of the tournament. We missed out on winning a medal, but we will give our best to create history in Birmingham.”

Navneet too stated that the win against England in the pool stage match has been her most memorable moment of the quadrennial games so far.

“I scored a goal in that match, and it is always a special feeling to contribute to the team’s win. It was also my career’s first CWG. I still remember each and every moment of it,” she expressed.

The Indian women is currently carrying out a final preparation camp in Nottingham. They will leave for Birmingham on July 23 to take part in the marquee event, which is scheduled to begin from July 29.

Savita Punia-led team will square off against Ghana in the opening match on July 29, before playing Wales on July 30, England on August 2 and Canada on August 3 in the pool stage.

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