Self-belief in the team is really strong, says midfielder Namita Toppo

With over 160 international caps to her name, Indian women's hockey team midfielder Namita Toppo has no shortage of experience and she wants to ensure that she can always help her team in all situations.

"I have been fortunate enough to have played the game for so long and with some fantastic players. It is a period in the women's game where we are all very confident, and the self-belief we have is really strong," said the 25-year-old.

"With Hockey India's continuous support, we had managed to qualify for the Olympics after a gap of 36 years in 2016, and then performed exceptionally well and have made history to qualify for back to back Olympic Games, therefore we want to continue on this path, and my aim will always be to help my team in all situations, whether it is on the field or off it," she added.

Having played a vital role in India's win over USA in the Olympic Qualifiers 2019 held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Namita credits hard work for the recognition that has followed.

"I believe anything that happens in a team sport, happens because of the unity and the spirit of the team. If I have been recognised for my performances, it is because everyone - starting from the chief coach and the support staff to my teammates, Hockey India and SAI - have given their best in all areas to achieve our objectives," said the midfielder.

"I am also of the opinion that awards follow you when you give your best on the field, and that we have seen a lot this year, especially with my teammates and the whole team bagging various awards recently," she added.

Namita has been recognised for her performances in the last year, which has won her the Ekalabya Puraskar 2020 in Odisha. She was announced as the recipient of the award last week by IMPaCT, a charitable wing of the Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys (IMFA).

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