The coach of Indian women’s hockey team, Tushar Khandekar, believes the current team is fit and ready to make the nation proud with a podium finish at the 2024 Olympics. He expressed faith in the team and talked about preparations during a conversation with Free Press at the felicitation function of Indian Women’s Hockey team at Minto Hall in Bhopal on Tuesday. Excerpts
How much do you think the chief coach leaving the team would affect the team?
I think the players we have are very dedicated. I say this for all. Every new coach comes with something new to give. And our players are smart enough to gather all the technique and make best use of them all.
Many players are in their late 20s and many have touched 30. Do you think we will get to see a lot of new faces in next Olympics?
Everyone wants Dhoni even at 40. Why do our girls get questioned when they age? They keep fit to play a longer inning, not to retire at such young age.
Coaches and players have said that fitness is first requirement. Most winning teams comprise players on younger side with a mix of experience.
Sportspersons and athletes work and train hard to stay fit. Our team is a fighter. I won’t comment on the change of teams, though change is constant. Our academies are preparing more players who are now ready to join the team.
What do you have to say about infrastructure in MP academies?
MP has done really well in developing an infrastructure, which gives the players an environment of international tournaments. I am happy the state government is working well for sports.
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