India Junior women’s hockey team star Deepika became the top scorer in the first phase of the Khelo India Women’s Hockey League Under 21, which concluded on Tuesday at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium.
The India Junior girls won all their six games and scored a total of 52 goals, conceding just twice in the tournament, and topped seven-team Pool A with a total of 18 points. Deepika scored 16 of those 52 goals.
Deepika is now looking ahead to a possible break where she would be keen on going back to her home in Haryana where she hasn’t been in the last two and a half years. The team would regroup in the first week of January 2022, preparing for the postponed Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup, scheduled in South Africa.
“The World Cup is going to come up next and we have to prepare for it. Else, if that doesn’t take place because of the Covid situation, we will focus on the second phase of this tournament. There are still a few drawbacks in our game and we would like to address that. The coaches have also pointed out. So we will work on that,” said Deepika after her team’s 12-0 win against the Mumbai School Sports Association on Tuesday.
Deepika scored from 7 penalty corners, 6 field goals and 3 penalty strokes en-route to her 16 goals in the tournament. Speaking on the feat, she mentioned, “It’s a proud moment for the team and everyone is happy that there has been a top scorer from our team. But it is a team game at the end of the day. I alone haven’t done anything. It’s the team that has contributed as a whole. Coaches Erik (Wonink) sir and Harvinder (Singh Saini) sir are happy as well but there are a few aspects of the game we still need to work on.”
Mumtaz Akhtar, Deepika’s teammate, remained the second-highest goalscorer of the team as well as the first phase of the league with 13 goals.
“Mumtaz is a very good player. She has a very good technical side of the game and I get to learn a lot from her. It’s very heartening to see so many good players coming on top from our team,” added Deepika.