Indian women's hockey star defender Manpreet Kaur feels that making her debut for the national team at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will be like a fairytale. The defender is currently training at the SAI centre in Bengaluru as part of the Women's Senior Core Probable Group for the Olympics
Young defender Manpreet Kaur, who has been training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Centre in Bengaluru as part of the Women's Senior Core Probable Group, is eyeing to make her debut for the senior national team at the upcoming prestigious Tokyo Olympics. She expressed that her debut for the senior national team at a dream event like the Olympics will be a fairytale for her, but at the same time, she wants to keep her feet on the ground and continue doing the hard work.
"Debut for the senior national team at a dream event like the Olympics will be a fairytale for me. I mean, it will be a different feeling altogether, but I want to keep my feet on the ground and continue doing my hard work. Team selection is not in my hand, but I would say this phase is really exciting. It is bringing the best out of me in our training, and I would like to continue doing it without bothering about the team selection. We all are pumped up, and just working hard, making each and every day count in the training," expressed Manpreet.
After gaining useful experience and exposure representing the Junior Team around the world, the 22-year-old defender earned her maiden call-up for the senior group in January 2020. Speaking about the transition from the Junior to Senior camp, Manpreet said, "It's been a great experience so far with the senior team. You know, you are surrounded by all the experienced players on and off the field, so there is so much to learn every day. Things are very different to what I experienced when I was with the Junior team. From training to diet to fitness, everything is on a different level here, and you need to adapt to it as quickly as possible."
Manpreet was also a part of India's recent Argentina tour, which was her maiden international tour with the senior national team. Speaking about the experience, she said, "I had butterflies in my stomach as it was my first ever tour with the senior team. Moreover, it was the team's first assignment in almost a year's time, so everyone was really excited. I was also given a chance by the coaches to express myself on my maiden international tour with the senior team. I was very nervous, but the senior players motivated me, and match-by-match, I kept gaining confidence, so it was a great learning experience even though those were practice matches."
Born in Shahabad Markanda, Manpreet is a product of Shahabad Hockey Academy, the same academy where Indian Women's skipper Rani, experienced forwards Navjot Kaur, and Navneet Kaur honed their skills.
"I have followed Rani di, Navjot di and Navneet di from very close quarters while growing up. Just like other girls in Shahabad, I also idolised Rani di. She is my biggest inspiration, and it's a special feeling to spend time with her at the camp. She guides young players like me in the right direction, and she is the biggest motivator in the team," she concluded.