New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh girls handball team skipper Bhawana Sharma’s combination with selfless playmaker Jassi was the highlight of the team’s 43-12 victory over Bengal in a Pool A match in the Khelo India Youth Games on Friday. The win was also a statement of the team’s determination to go the distance.

Himachal Pradesh’s only medal so far in this edition here has come from the boys Kabaddi team which stunned the home team and crowd in the final in the Multi-Purpose Hall 1 in the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex. Now, the girls’ Handball team, boasting of four internationals and oozing with confidence after a good start, is hoping to strike gold at the same venue.

Of course, it helps that along with fellow internationals Sanjana and goalkeeper Chetana Sharma, Bhawana and Jassi and a few others are all products of the Handball Nursery in Morsinghi, Bilaspur. “That we have been together for close to three years has worked to our advantage,” Bhawana said.

The strapping Bhawana was the team’s highest scorer but she appreciated the role played by the playmaker in creating opportunities for her upfront. “Jassi is selfless in passing the ball for me to score. Her sense of timing is superb, and she feints superbly. I like the understanding that we share on and off the court. It helps our team,” Bhawana said.

The fans in the arena got to see some of that magic when Jassi passed the ball forward, though there was no eye contact with Bhawana. “I knew instinctively that Bhawana would be at hand to collect the ball and score without any fuss. I think it such moments of magic that make us the team we are,” Jassi said.

“I feel good when my combination with the captain of the team stands the team in good stead. There is no greater joy in seeing her and our other strikers make the most of the chances to add goals to our score. I think we all understand that this is a team game and even if the media mentions only the scorers, each of us knows our role and plays it to the hilt,” Jassi said.

“Our team finished runner-up in the National Junior Championships, but it is determined and prepared to win the final here. However, my team is not over-reaching itself and will take it to step by step. We are looking forward to winning Friday’s match against Rajasthan,” Bhawna said, returning to be with the team on the sidelines as it cooled down.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.