Ace striker Rani will lead Indian Women’s Hockey team for 2nd consecutive Games

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Ace striker Rani Rampal on Thursday was retained to lead the Indian Women’s hockey team for the second successive Olympics as she was named captain of the 16-member squad for the Tokyo Games.

The Games are scheduled from 23rd July to 6th August in Tokyo.

The squad includes eight experienced veterans while eight players will be making their Olympic debut for Team India. 

Besides Rani Rampal, who also led India at Rio Games, seven others ,Savita, Deep Grace Ekka, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur and Vandana Katariya also represented the country at the historic appearance of the Women’s team at the Olympic Games after a gap of 36 years. These eight players have a total of 1,492 caps between them for Team India.

The eight Olympic debutants include drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Lalremsiami – who is the first player hailing from Mizoram in the team and Salima Tete – who led the team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires to a silver medal performance,.  

This will be the Women’s team’s third appearance at the Olympic Games and their second consecutive outing, with previous appearances coming in 1980 and 2016.

Since Rio 2016, the team has experienced the highs of winning the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup, the Silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and making it to the Quarter Finals of the 2018 Women’s World Cup for the first time in history.

Commenting on the team selection, Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “This team has worked very hard over the last few years and has made progress consistently. 

There’s a good mix of experienced players and new talent, which is excellent. We look forward to taking on the best in the world in Tokyo. This is a team with a lot of potential and drive which we hope to channelise to our best performance yet.” the coach added

Goalkeepers; Savita

Defenders; Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita.

Midfielders: Nisha, Neha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nanjot Kaur, Salima Tete.

Forwards; Rani, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila, Devi.HSB

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