Women’s hockey team almost ready for Olympics: Veteran Helen Mary

The he Indian women’s hockey team is shaping up well for the upcoming Olympic Games going by their recent performance, feels former India goalkeeper Helen Mary.

“The way they played in Argentina recently, even though they couldn’t register a win against the world No. 2 team, the style they played [with] and the confidence they showed against the home team on their home ground was something I have never seen in them before,” said Helen on Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series of Hockey India (HI).

Helen, who was the Indian team’s goalkeeping coach ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, said the Rani Rampal-led team should just focus on fine-tuning its game and try and remain confident in the weeks leading up to the Games, scheduled to start on July 23 in Tokyo.

“The way they played in Argentina and Germany recently, I feel they are 90 per cent ready. Some fine-tuning of their game in the upcoming weeks and I surely believe they can create (sic) history in Tokyo,” she said.

“I have seen them working really hard over these years, and even when they are on a break, I have seen them constantly working on their fitness. They are extremely focused, and they are doing so well in the lead-up. My only advice to them is to be safe, because you are so close to achieving your dream.”

Helen made her international debut in 1992 when she was picked to play against Germany. In her career spanning over a decade, she contributed to the team’s success at several international tournaments, including the historic gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, gold at the 2004 Asia Cup, silver at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, and gold at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games.