New Delhi: Indian women’s hockey team drag-flick specialist Gurjit Kaur, who was one of the architects of the side’s fourth-place finish at the Olympics, said the players had “become fearless” following their performance in Tokyo and that going forward “it will help us perform well in major tournaments”.
The 25-year-old defender, who has been nominated for the FIH Women’s Player of the Year Award 2020/21, etched her name in the history books of world hockey following her heroics in the Olympics quarterfinal match against Australia. She scored a match-winning goal from a penalty corner in India’s historic 1-0 win, which earned the side a place in their first-ever semifinal at the Games.
“People have started watching us, and I am sure our performance will inspire young girls to take up hockey. The Tokyo Olympics marks the beginning of a new era of Indian hockey. We have gained a lot of confidence, we have become fearless, and going forward it will certainly help us perform well in major tournaments. I also hope we get the same amount of love and respect going forward,” she added.
On her nomination for FIH Women’s Player of the Year Award, Gurjit said, “It’s a huge thing for me to be nominated for the FIH Women’s Player of the Year Award. For an athlete, it’s one of the best things when all your hard work and sacrifices get recognised at a world level, and I am really happy to see my name on that list. It will give me extra motivation to do even better for the team.”
Asked about the decisive goal against Australia, Gurjit said, “I think that’s my job, and I just did it. My job is to drag-flick, and I got a chance, which I converted.
“No doubt, there is my name on the scoresheet, but that doesn’t mean it was mine alone, it was a team goal. Each one of us contributed to it, from the defence line to midfielders, to strikers, who created the penalty corner, and eventually, it was my responsibility to convert it,” she added.
The team missed out on the Olympic medal by a whisker, losing to Great Britain in the bronze-medal play-off match. However, the Amritsar-born player feels that there are a lot of positives to take from this dream campaign. “Even though we missed out on winning the medal by a whisker, there are a lot of positives to take from this dream campaign.”