Former India goalkeeper Helen Mary claims the Rani Rampal-led Indian team is set to make history in Tokyo after making substantial leaps at the global level with impressive performances in big tournaments over the past three to four years.
Helen Mary suggests that fine-tuning a few facets of their game in the lead-up to the Olympics would help the Indian women’s hockey players make history by finishing on the pinnacle in the Olympics.
“The way they played in Argentina and Germany recently, I feel they are 90 percent ready, some fine-tuning of their game in the upcoming weeks and I surely believe they can create history in Tokyo. The tri-colors will fly high in Tokyo,” Helen Mary said on a Hockey Indian podcast “Hockey Te Charcha’ as quoted by The Indian Express.
Helen Mary on the structure approach in Indian hockey
Helen stated that there is a more structured and scientific approach in place now in the current Indian structure compared to the support system they had during her era.
“There is a stark difference in how the teams train today and how we trained. The approach they have now is very scientific and it’s great that the team has a big support staff who look into every small detail right from fitness, diet, recovery to workload every week. Everything is planned in advance and each player’s progress is mapped on a day-to-day basis. I sometimes regret that we didn’t have this kind of systematic approach when we played.” added Helen Mary.
Helen Mary made her international debut in 1992. Throughout her fourteen-year career, she helped the team win gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2004 Asia Cup, as well as silver at the 1998 Asian Games. She has also worked as a goal-keeping coach for the Indian Women’s side ahead of the Rio Olympics 2016.
M K Kaushik, who was a former player and coach of the Indian team died recently due to Covid-19. Helen talked about him being the godfather for the young players and was the person responsible for guiding the players in the correct direction.
“He was our godfather. He was responsible for molding our careers. He showed us the right path in hockey. He was a true taskmaster. We were so disciplined because he was that strict and I would say it was this discipline that he had inculcated in us that made us a successful team,” concluded Helen Mary.