Winning an Olympic medal is ultimate goal, says India midfielder Neha Goyal

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Bengaluru: Indian women’s hockey midfielder Neha Goyal has gone through numerous challenges to make it to the top level. When she took up hockey, the 23-year-old faced financial concerns as the family found it difficult to procure hockey equipment. Her never to give up mindset helped her tackle all the difficulties and reach the top in her career.

“It was really tough for me when I started playing hockey in the fifth standard. My mother would work day and night to make sure that we had enough food and therefore it was very difficult for her to save some money for my equipment. And once I made it to the top level, I faced numerous injuries and was out of the Indian team for a long time,” said Neha.

“However, the most important thing for me was that I never gave up and kept persisting to beat any obstacle in my career and I am very glad that I have featured in many games for India since 2017 after coming back.”

India women’s midfielder Neha Goyal. (Photo: Hockey India)

Goyal who has played 75 matches for the national team, said the focus is on Tokyo Olympics and the ultimate goal is to bag a medal for the country. “Our sole focus is on the Tokyo Olympics at the moment. We have been working hard on our fitness in the last few months and we will do everything we can to keep getting better at our game in the next few months.

“We had a fabulous 2019 after winning the FIH Women’s Series Finals and booking a place in the Olympics through the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers. We have competed well against top teams in the recent past and therefore we have the belief that we can make history in Tokyo next year. It’s our ultimate goal to win a medal at the Olympics,” said the 23-year-old.

Goyal’s biggest inspiration has been the former India captain Pritam Rani Siwach. She has encouraged her and even provided her with hockey equipment to work hard on the game. “When I was in the fifth standard, I used to see Pritam didi’s photographs in the local newspaper and I used to go and watch her play in a local ground. One day she asked me why I go to the ground every day and it was then I told her that I want to play the game.

“Since my parents couldn’t afford hockey equipment for me, Pritam didi provided the equipment to me and encouraged me to work hard on my game. I wouldn’t have reached where I am today without her support,” Goyal said.

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