Indian women team chasing Olympic dream

Zeenews Sport Bureau

New Delhi: The Indian women’s hockey team will begin their quest for an Olympic berth, which kept eluding them since 1980 Moscow Games, at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday.

The Indian team would be looking to end their 32-year-old wait to play in the Olympics when they start their campaign against lowly Ukraine. The women’s team last appeared in 1980 Moscow Games, where the men`s team won the last of their eight gold medals.

The Indian team holds a psychological edge and are happy with their preparation for the 2012 hockey Olympic qualifiers. In the run-up to the tournament, they have completed a a 4-0 whitewash in a Test series against Azerbaijan, 5-2 win against Canada and a 1-1 draw against Italy.

South Africa are the highest ranked team in the tournament at World No.12 while India are 13th. Italy (19th), Canada (20th), Ukraine (26th) and Poland (28th) make up the numbers. South Africa are the favourites but India will be the team to beat.

Squad: Yogita Bali (goalkeeper), Savita (goalkeeper), Jaspreet Kaur, Joydeep Kaur, Subhadra Pradhan, P Sushila Chanu, Asunta Lakra (captain), Kirandeep Kaur (vice-captain), Deepika, Ritu Rani, Mukta Prava Barla, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Rani Rampal, Soundarya Yendala, Anuradha Devi, Rosaline Dung Dung, Jasjeet Kaur Handa