Having to return from Birmingham CWG days before the game opened was heartbreaking: Navjot Kaur

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Indian women’s hockey striker Navjot Kaur has expressed disappointment at missing out on Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games bronze medal-winning squad after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of the showpiece event quadrennial.

The 27-year-old missed her third Commonwealth Games appearance after testing positive for the virus and had to return home before the team’s campaign even started at the event.

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Revealing his disappointment, the striker said: “I tested positive when I was in Nottingham where we were training before heading to the Games village. I had no major symptoms and was hoping to reunite with the team by the time we moved to the village. I was tested every day and unfortunately it kept showing positive readings.

“To be honest, it was disappointing to leave like that. It was very difficult and hard for me to accept. I hadn’t missed any major tournaments before, so I was facing this situation for the first time in my life. career,” she added.

Having played more than 200 international matches, Navjot has been integral to the success of the Indian team over the past few years. Since making her debut in 2012, she has represented the country in every major tournament and has been involved in some of the team’s biggest wins.

However, Navjot said it was the team’s support that kept her in the right frame of mind throughout this ordeal. “Our head coach Janneke Schopman, staff members and my teammates have been in constant contact with me throughout. They were watching me every day during the isolation phase. I feel lucky to be part of a team so wonderful; they were really supportive and helped me through the tough times. Even mindfulness helped me cope, stay calm, and be in the moment.

Sharing her experience of watching the team’s historic bronze medal win at the Commonwealth Games from home, Navjot said: “I watched all the games with my family. It was heartbreaking to see the team lose to Australia by a very narrow margin. But the way the team bounced back to win bronze was truly inspiring. The World Cup campaign was also disappointing. We were playing pretty well, it’s just that the results weren’t in our favour. But, really proud of the team for the way they fought back and ended the long European tour with a historic bronze medal.

Back at the SAI Center training camp in Bengaluru, Navjot is eager to get back up to speed.

“We have plenty of time to prepare for the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup in December 2022, which will help us qualify for the next edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League,” she concluded.

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