Bengaluru: Even as many sportspersons around the world are disappointed with the postponement of Olympics by one year, Indian women's hockey team's young midfielder Salima Tete feels an extra year gives the side a lot of time to improve its game.
The 24-member core probables for the Olympic Games are currently stationed at the SAI Centre here where they continue to focus on individual fitness routine and workout in isolation.
"There is a lot of scope to improve our game in the next one year and by focusing on our fitness during the lockdown, we are in shape to re-start training once all this is over," Tete said.
"We are mentally prepared to work hard and face any challenges that come our way in our preparations for the Olympic Games," she added.
Having debuted for India in early 2017 against Belarus, Tete was touted to be the next big thing in Indian hockey. However, the 19-year old struggled to impress much and it was only last year that she became a regular in the senior squad.
"I lacked confidence when I joined the senior team in 2017. I was scared and that reflected in my game," she admitted.
She led the side in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018 with Siami Lalremsiami as her deputy.
"It was at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games where I really stepped up my game. Siami and I would tell ourselves before every match that we have to lead the team from the front so that the rest of the squad would play with confidence. I feel the experience I gained from this multi-discipline event was the turning point."
Tete's performance in Buenos Aires where the team won the silver medal came in for praised from prime minister Narendra Modi.
Tete, from a small hamlet in Simdega district of Jharkhand, has since proved her potential in the Indian team, with chief coach Sjoerd Marijne often trusting her with important role in the midfield and in the backline.
"The seniors in the team have really helped me improve my performance. They constantly talk to me and encourage me especially in big games teams against Australia, Spain or Japan.
"Last year was particularly good for the women's team and we have been on the right path."