Indian women's hockey team departs for Asian Games

Indian women's hockey team departs for Asian Games

The Indian women's hockey team departed from here Saturday to participate in the 17th Asian Games to be held in the South Korean city of Incheon from Sep 19 to Oct 4.

The team will be led by captain Ritu Rani (184 caps) with Deepika (131 caps) as her deputy and under the stewardship of chief coach Neil Hawgood.

India will start their Pool A campaign against Thailand Sep 22 before taking on China Sep 24 and Malaysia Sep 26. The top two teams will qualify for the semi-finals.

“The preparatory camp in Patiala and New Delhi has gone very well. We’ve had enough time to put in place strategies for each player. We looked closely at our key problems in converting penalty corners and stressed on rectifying those areas. We are hopeful of doing well and winning gold at the Asian Games to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics,” Hawgood said.

Speaking ahead of the Games, skipper Ritu said: “We have worked hard on our shortcomings during a one month camp with coach Hawgood and director high performance Roelent Oltmans.

"We have focussed our efforts on a few areas, especially penalty corners, and have made improvements. We are very confident about our strengths. We can reach the final of the Asian Games and are confident that the gold is in our reach."

The squad:

Goalkeeper: Savita (84 caps)

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (62), Deepika (131) (vice-captain), Sunita Lakra (30), Namita Toppo (51), Jaspreet Kaur (62), Sushila Chanu (76), Monika (12)

Midfielders: Ritu Rani (184) (captain), Lilima Minz (33), Amandeep Kaur (9), Chanchan Devi Thokchom (105)

Forwards: Rani (116), Poonam Rani (118), Vandana Katariya (104), Navjot Kaur (27).

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