Our performance at the Tokyo Olympics has changed our mentality and given us self belief," : Neha Goyal
Neha Goyal, a tenacious yet skilled midfielder, was a key member of the first-ever Indian Women's Hockey Team to reach the Olympic Semi-Finals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though the team almost missed out on a medal after pushing Great Britain to the brink in the Bronze Medal match, the 24-year-old from Sonepat sees some positives in the Indian eves' historic performance in Tokyo.
“Our performance in the Tokyo Olympics shifted our mindset and instilled in us the confidence to compete against any team on the planet. Our Quarter-Final victory over Australia shifted our thinking. Australia had topped their Pool prior to that match, having won all of their matches. Defeating them instilled us with confidence, which we will carry forward as we prepare to compete in more significant events in the future. Along with a shift in our mindset, we've seen an improvement in our training and fitness levels,” Neha explained.
Making her Olympic debut for India stands out as a career highlight for Neha. “I was nervous but excited before the occasion,” she says. Since I began playing hockey, it has been my desire to compete in the Olympics. As this was my first time, I tried not to put myself under too much pressure and focused on enjoying the occasion. I also gained confidence during our pre-Olympic visits to Argentina and Germany, where I believed we were able to compete well against some very good teams. Finally, the squad performed admirably, and I was pleased with my own performance throughout the tournament.”
Neha's objective going ahead is to continue honing her individual game in order to contribute to the team's success in future competitions. “Our next goal as a team is to perform well at the Asian Games and World Cup next year,” she stated. I'm continuing to improve my own game in order to contribute to the team's success. As a Centre, it is my responsibility to be effective on both sides of the game, assisting both the defence and the attack. I consider myself a skilled player, and attacking comes more easy to me, but I want to keep my game balanced.”