After a fruitful debut year with the Indian women’s hockey team where she helped her team qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, forward Sharmila Devi is itching to get back on the field to make a difference.
With the team currently on a break from national camp, Sharmila has been spending time with her family in Hisar and is making sure she is up to speed whenever hockey action resumes.
“It has been a really different experience to not have felt that adrenaline rush of playing the sport, but I’m just making sure I’m maintaining my fitness and am ready to play as soon as we are allowed,” expressed the 18-year-old who has 9 appearances for the senior team.
“I feel I’ve been really fortunate to have been playing under such a good chief coach in Sjoerd Marijne, along with such experienced players like Rani and Vandana Katariya. There’s so much for me to learn, and I want to make sure I am doing everything right to develop as a decent player for my country.
“I am hoping that we will be able to play hockey again soon, and I am really looking forward to making a difference for my team once that happens and we start playing the top teams,” she said.
Having found the time to reflect on her journey with the senior team, Sharmila recalled the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2019 against the USA as her favorite moment so far.
“It was definitely a huge moment for me, to have represented the country at such a huge tournament. We were looking to secure our berth in the Tokyo Olympics and were playing against such strong opposition, so it felt really good to have done well and helped the team in achieving our goal.
“I’m looking forward to more such victories and enjoyable moments with the team,” said the forward who had scored India’s second goal in the 5-1 win in the first leg against the USA.
The forward further stated that life has really been going on at a very fast pace for her in the past year and she couldn’t have asked for more. “Having made my debut at the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo back in August 2019, it was an experience of a lifetime for me because we won the tournament there.”
“For me, it was something I had only dreamt of – to be able to play and train with the best players from our country. When I was in the Junior team set-up, I would just watch them train during national camps, and I would get goosebumps, but when I started playing, it just really felt amazing,” added Sharmila.