The India women’s hockey team is aiming to qualify for the Paris Olympics next year with a good showing at the Asian Games, said captain Savita as the players departed for Hangzhou on Tuesday to participate in the upcoming 19th Asian Games.
India are placed in Pool A along with Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong China and Singapore and will open their campaign against Singapore on September 27. Meanwhile, Japan, China, Thailand, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia are placed in Pool B. The top two teams from each Pool will qualify for the Semi-Finals.
“We have had a long and strenuous National Camp where we worked on all the areas where we need to improve. We have formulated our strategies as per our strengths and we have studied our opponents as well, thoroughly to understand their styles of play. We hope to have a good tournament and get positive results. Our target is to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and so we are aware of the importance of the tournament and what we need to do to achieve our goals,” said Savita.
The team includes goalkeepers Savita and Bichu Devi Kharibam. Deep Grace Ekka, Ishika Chaudhary, Nikki Pradhan, and Udita form the defence line, while Sushila Chanu, Monika, Navneet Kaur, Neha, Nisha, Salima Tete, Sonika, and Vaishnavi Vittal Phalke constitute India’s midfield. Deepika, Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari, and Vandana Katariya have been included in the team as forwards.
Meanwhile, vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka said the team is a good blend of experience and youth.
“The good thing for us is that we have a blend of experience and youth among our ranks. All the players are eager to display their best, and are in their best frame of mind to showcase their talents on the field,” she said.
“We know we have some strong teams in our pool, but all of us see this as an opportunity to showcase how much we have grown as a team and individuals over the past year. We know we would have to adjust to the surroundings quickly, and we are prepared to do that to ensure we can completely focus on our game,” she added.
After their first game against Singapore, India will face Malaysia on September 29, Korea on October 1 and Hong Kong China on October 3.
Schedule of the Indian women’s hockey team:
September 27: India vs Singapore at 1015am IST
September 29: India vs Malaysia at 4pm IST
October 1: India vs Korea at 1pm IST
October 3: India vs Hong Kong China at 745am IST
Where to watch: Asian Games 2023 will be telecast live on the Sony Sports Network TV channels in India. The live telecast will be streamed on the Sony Liv app.
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