Jyoti Chhatri eyes spot in India’s squad for Olympic Qualifiers

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-PTI

Boosted by her experience on the Valencia tour, young forward Jyoti Chhatri is now eyeing a place in the Indian women’s hockey team for next year’s FIH Olympics Qualifiers in Ranchi.

The 19-year-old was part of the Indian team at the recently concluded 5-Nations Tournament in Valencia. She has been a key figure in the junior team setup for the past year and played across all six games for India at the Junior World Cup, scoring a goal during the thrilling 3-3 (3-2 SO) win over New Zealand.

She also played a prominent role during India’s gold medal-winning performance at the Women’s Junior Asia Cup this year.

“The preparatory tour in Valencia has boosted my confidence as an individual and I am hopeful to get a chance to be a part of the Indian squad for the FIH Hockey Olympics Qualifiers Ranchi 2024,” the forward told Hockey India (HI).

“This past year has really helped me develop as a player and I am eager to grab on to every opportunity that comes my way.

“The senior players, coaches, and support staff have been thoroughly supportive and have helped me a lot whenever needed. It is a dream for every player to represent India at the Olympics, and our journey to Paris as a team will hopefully begin in January.”

While Jyoti made her senior team debut at the 4-Nations Women’s Invitational Tournament in Barcelona earlier this year against England, the 5-Nations Tournament in Valencia was another good chance for her to compete against some of the top teams – Ireland, Germany, Spain, and Belgium.

Jyoti believes her experience in Valencia has helped her grow as a player.

“I was elated to be considered for the squad for the Valencia tour. It is always a great opportunity to learn when you get to train alongside the senior team,” she said. “Having competitive matches against such strong oppositions also helped me understand the tenacity and mental strength needed to fight to win at the highest levels.”

India began the tournament with a 2-3 loss to Spain and a 1-2 defeat to Belgium in Valencia. After losing 1-3 to Germany in its third game of the competition, India recorded a thrilling 2-1 win over Ireland to end its campaign on a positive note.

Jyoti said, “While the results were not in our favour on the tour, we could recognise the important areas where we have to focus on and we were able to improve with each game. It was an important series for us with bigger tournaments coming up next year. We feel we were able to take a lot from the series, which has helped our growth as a team.”

India will be competing in the Olympics Qualifiers in Ranchi, aiming to secure a spot in the Paris Games. The team will begin its campaign against the USA on January 13 before facing New Zealand on January 14. India’s last Pool B clash will be against Italy on January 16.

Featured Image: The Bridge

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