CHENNAI: The winner of the 13th Hockey India senior men's national championship was decided after a penalty shootout that lasted almost 30 minutes after the regulation time of the final between Punjab and Haryana ended in 2-2. Krishan Pathak, goalkeeper of India and Punjab made a difference by saving four attempts as Punjab won the title against defending champions Haryana. He interacted with the media after the presentation ceremony at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium. Excerpts: On the penalty shootout I wanted to keep it simple. Honestly, I was not expecting it to go to the shootout the way our quarterfinal and semifinal went. I think that is why I was mentally a little behind when I had to prepare for it immediately. I was trying to remain calm throughout the shootout and remind myself of the basics of the shootout. After a long match and humidity, my body was not completely reacting the way I wanted it to be, but I am glad we got over the line. Normally, I just go through my breathing routines and try to keep myself calm. If you think a lot, you get distracted. I just wanted to set myself first. It took me some time to get that momentum going. On playing for Punjab When we were told that we would play nationals for our state teams, all of us were happy that we got this opportunity. The availability of international players, especially for Punjab made it even more special. Some of the players unfortunately couldn't play for Punjab because of injuries, but most of our team is made up of internationals. We got this opportunity after a long time, so we just wanted to enjoy it. So when we were coming to Chennai, we wanted to win the trophy and take home the gold medal. On his reflections on the nationals Even when we got a break from the national camp, I was participating in the domestic competitions. Winning in those tournaments also helps you boost your confidence, so the nationals were important that way for us. And if you look at the whole tournament, we played really well and that is something we can take a lot of confidence from. And every player who played in this tournament, no matter what team they played for, will get that boost going into the national camp. On Paris 2024 Goal It's getting close, isn't it? When our new coach (Craig Fulton) came in, he gave us the target to win the gold medal in the Asian Games and win the quota. And when we are going to Paris, we are going with the aim to better the result from Tokyo Olympic 2020. We will go through the Five Nations tournament and FIH Pro League before the Olympics, which will give us the chance to work on our weaknesses, but the aim is to win a gold medal in Paris.
Hockey: 'Our aim is to win a gold medal in Paris', says goalkeeper Pathak
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