Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 12 (ANI): Indian women's hockey team player Nikki Pradhan said her dream is to become an Olympic medalist and not just an Olympian adding that the team will do everything in the next year's event to make it to the podium.
"It was a huge moment for all of us in 2016, I think we were overwhelmed that we had made it there after 36 years. But I believe that was just the start," Hockey India's official website quoted Pradhan, who was a part of the team which qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016, as saying.
"I have always dreamt of an Olympic Medal, and I know the rest of the girls also want to be known as Olympic medallists, and not just Olympians. So whenever we step foot in Tokyo, we will do everything to make it to the podium," she added.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been pushed back by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 26-year-old admitted that her journey from a small village of Hesal in Jharkhand to representing India was tough but her hard work helped her in achieving the goal.
"I come from a place which is actually the hotbed of women's hockey, and it was definitely a very tough journey because back then you would have limited resources. At times it was difficult for me to imagine being a professional hockey player, but I think the hard work that I put in, and the support that I received from everyone around me, really proved to be a boost," she said.
"I started representing the state, which eventually led me to a national team call-up. I think another factor was that I had some big names from my state that I looked up to, especially in women's hockey. I decided I would do everything possible to give my best and represent India one day, and here I am," Pradhan added.
Pradhan, who has over 110 International Caps for the country, said hockey is on the rise again in Jharkhand, and she expects more girls to make it to the national set-up.
"With Salima (Tete) in the squad, you can see how talented the players in Jharkhand are. She (Salima) has developed really well in the past couple of years, and its good to see someone from my region in the team. It also proves that the sport is again developing constantly, and that players are taking it seriously. I certainly expect a lot more players to make it to the squad in the upcoming years," she said. (ANI)