India women hockey team defender Deep Grace Ekka reckons that having a balance of young and experienced players in the defense line will help them in big tournaments like the Olympics. Also Read - Chris Gayle Wants Cricket's T10 Format to be Included in Olympics

The Indian team has put up impressive shows in various top international tournaments including a silver medal-winning performance at the 2018 Asian Games and qualifying for back-to-back Olympics. Also Read - Sports Calendar 2021: From Tokyo Olympics to T20 World Cup, Here Are All The Major Events

“It’s great to have a great balance of youth and experienced players in our defense line,” Ekka said. “We are guiding the youngsters to get even better at their game and I am sure after a few months we will get even better as a defense unit. Having a great defense line always helps any team and if we are rock solid then it will be a huge benefit for the Indian team, especially in big tournaments like the Olympics.” Also Read - India Hockey Legend And World Cup Winner Michael Kindo Passes Away at 73

Being a senior player, Ekka says she took up the responsibility to keep the youngsters in the team motivated and positive in these tough times when the entire world is in the grips of a health crisis.

“As a senior player in the team, I had to make sure that the youngsters are not too impacted and remain positive during this period. It’s easy for negativity to set in during this time, but our group has done well to take each day as it comes. It’s my duty to ensure that the youngsters remain motivated and they have done a great job. All of us focused on our fitness while we were away from the pitch and now, we are relishing our sports activities on the pitch,” the 26-year-old said.

She also credited Hockey India and Sports Authority of India (SAI) for their support during the pandemic.

“Hockey India and SAI have always treated us like family and they have helped us tremendously in the last few months. We had enough facilities at our disposal for our fitness training during the lockdown and now, we are able to practice for the Olympics only because of the efforts put in by Hockey India and SAI,” she said.