India's Savita expressed her gratitude on being nominated for FIH Women's Goalkeeper of the Year Award 2021-22, and said that she feels she is moving in the right direction. Savita, who won the Award last year, said that support from her teammates and coaching staff has proven to be helpful.
"I feel quite good about being nominated in consecutive years. We continued to train hard after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for the entire year. Getting a nomination again makes me feel that I am moving in the right direction in training," Savita said.
"The coaching staff, and the players have been quite supportive. We have always worked together in every competition. No achievement is an individual achievement for any of us, but the result of team efforts. As a goalkeeper, my job is to ensure my team feels happy with my performance and we all strive to help each other out in achieving the results. If one of us is nominated, each and every member of the team receives appreciation and this is what makes me happy," the 32-year-old added.
Savita led the Indian Women's Hockey Team as Captain in the debut season of the FIH Pro League 2021/22 where the team finished in the third position. She also led the team as Captain at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games where India beat New Zealand 1-1 (2-1 SO) to win the coveted Bronze medal.
Speaking on the dual responsibilities, Savita said, "The position of goalkeeper is a different responsibility. As an experienced goalkeeper, I always train with the mindset that I have to help the team. As a Captain, your responsibility increases because you have to take care of your game and also manage the performance of your team."
"It is possible that someday your team might not be performing well, so you have to motivate them as a Captain. But working under Chief Coach Janneke Schopman, we are able to divide the responsibilities among ourselves, so I feel it has helped me in playing freely, without feeling the pressure," she added.
The Indian Women's Hockey Team returned to the training camp on August 29th, as they prepare for the upcoming FIH Hockey Women's Nations Cup set to be played in December. The team is also looking forward for the upcoming Asian Games set to take place next year.
Savita explained how winning a medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has created a positive environment at the camp. "After winning a CWG Medal after 16, we all felt quite motivated and we all were eager for the camp to begin so that we can start working on the areas where we can improve upon. All the players are working really hard at the camp, and it is quite a positive environment at the camp," Savita said.
"The most important tournament for us next year is Asian Games which will take place next year. We will be competing in the FIH Nations Cup in December as well, but our main goal is to be prepared for the Asian Games next year," she added.
Apart from Savita, Harmanpreet Singh (FIH Player Of the Year Men), PR Sreejesh (FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Men), Sanjay (FIH Rising Star of the Year Men), Mumtaz Khan (FIH Rising Star of the Year Women), Graham Reid (FIH Men’s Team Coach of the Year Men) and Janneke Schopman (FIH Women’s Team Coach of the Year Women) have also been nominated for FIH Hockey Star Awards 2021-22.