New Delhi : Indian women’s hockey team forward Sharmila Devi, who played a key role in the Rani Rampal-led side finishing fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and making history, said on Wednesday that the girls had “gained a lot of confidence” after playing the best teams in the world.The 19-year-old made several brilliant runs during the tournament and put pressure on the opposition to create many goal-scoring opportunities. Sharmila also scored a goal in India’s Pool stage match against Great Britain.For her incredible efforts at the Olympics, Sharmila has been nominated for the FIH Women’s Rising Star of the Year Award 2019/2020.”We were very close to winning a medal, but we couldn’t do so. It was heart-breaking for us to not close out the game against Great Britain. However, we will focus on the learnings from the tournament in the upcoming days. We have gained a lot of confidence from the way we took on the top teams in the world. We just need to fine-tune a few things and then we will certainly perform well regularly in the biggest of tournaments,” said Sharmila.
On her being nominated for the FIH award, Sharmila said, “It’s a great honour to be nominated for the FIH Women’s Rising Star of the Year Award 2019/2020. It feels fantastic when your efforts and performances are recognised. I have always played to help my team win and we have always believed in collective efforts, therefore this nomination is a testament to the way the entire team has played in the last year and especially at the Tokyo Games.”Sharmila also congratulated her teammates, defender Gurjit Kaur and goalkeeper Savita, for being nominated for the FIH Women’s Player of the Year Award and FIH Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award respectively.”The fact that we have made the shortlist of all the categories of FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2020/21 shows that each department of the team is contributing to the team’s success on the field. Gurjit scored some crucial goals for us in the knockout stages, the one against Australia in the quarterfinal being the most important goal and Savita made many brilliant saves throughout the Tokyo Games.”I am really happy that their performances have been recognised and would like to congratulate them for being nominated for the FIH Player of the Year Award and FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Award respectively,” said Sharmila.