Woman hockey forward Navneet Kaur says she would lead from the front at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games, her first appearance at the world's biggest sports extravaganza.
The 25-year-old player said that playing at the Olympics has been a dream for her and that she would leave no stone unturned to make her experience wonderful in Tokyo.
"Playing at the Olympics is my childhood dream and I will leave no stone unturned to make it wonderful. With experience comes responsibility. I have already played 79 games for India and the focus is now on leading from the front. The team has been sweating it out at the national camp in Bengaluru and we are going to have a memorable outing in Tokyo," she said.
Navneet spoke about the influence of Shahabad Markanda on her hockey career.
"I come from Shahabad Markanda, a small town in Haryana that plays a huge part in the development of hockey. My teammates Rani and Navjot Kaur have also trained at the Shahabad Hockey Academy. I remember when I came back to Shahabad with the bronze medal in the 2013 Junior Women's Hockey World Cup in Germany people welcomed us warmly. There was a grand procession in Shahabad, people were dancing and celebrating as if they had won," she recalled.
Navneet said that she always wanted to represent India in hockey and feels proud to be a part of the national team.
"From the beginning, I was sure that I wanted to play hockey. I made my debut for the senior India team in 2014. The fans started appreciating our efforts after some tremendous performances in the 2018 World Cup, Asia Cup, Asian Games and Asian Champions Trophy," she said.
"I feel proud to be a part of such a team. This team is like a family. Rani and Savita keep exchanging their ideas with us on how we can improve together as a team. It is crucial to have a clear mind-set on match day. The coaches and the entire team are working towards that goal."
Navneet said that the Indian team has developed a habit of fighting till the last minute of every match.
"A lot has changed in the mind-set of our team in the past few years. We don't fear the stronger opponents anymore. Earlier, when we used to play against the Netherlands or Great Britain, we used to panic. That's not the case now. We fight until the final whistle. It's not over until it's over," she said.