Ritu Rani to lead Indian women`s team in Champions Challenge 1

Updated: Sep 10, 2012, 15:47 PM IST

New Delhi: Ritu Rani will lead the Indian senior women`s hockey team in the Electric Ireland Champions Challenge 1 from September 29 to October 7 in Dublin.

This will be Indian eves` maiden assignment under chief coach Neil Hawgood and Rani said that her team is eager to compete against the sides, which had taken part in the recent Olympic Games.

"We have worked very hard during the camp in Bhopal under the supervision of coach Hawgood and Exercise Physiologist Dr Ben Dascombe. We are confident we will compete hard and do our best against quality oppositions," said the captain.

Defender Kirandeep Kaur has been named the vice-captain of the side.

Hawgood, who took over the reins as Indian Senior Women`s team`s coach recently, said he was looking forward to the upcoming tournament.

"I have shared my vision of enhancing an already attractive style of hockey that will balance out the attacking ability -- and that is naturally within this group -- and to have a defensive side of the game that is as well respected as our attacking side," Hawgood said.

Hockey India Secretary General, Narinder Batra said he was confident of the Indian eves being competitive.

"Our Junior women`s team recently won Junior Women`s Asia Cup silver for the first time and the selectors have included as many as seven players from that team in this squad.

"We are sure the team will be very competitive."

Besides India, Australia, Belgium, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States of America and host Ireland will will competing in the event.

Australia, which finished fifth in the Olympics in London last month and is ranked seventh, tops the rankings among the eight teams.

South Africa, Belgium and the USA finished 10th, 11th and 12th in the Olympics.

India are ranked World No. 12 and are ahead of Spain (13), Belgium (14), Ireland (15) and Scotland (19).

The winner of the event will join Argentina, England, Netherlands, Germany and Japan in the Women`s Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 to be played in Argentina.

Two other contenders will be assigned invitational places at a later date by the FIH Executive Board.

The Indian team:

Goalkeepers: Yogita Bali, Savita.

Defenders: Jaspreet Kaur, Sushila Chanu, Kirandeep Kaur (vice-captain), Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Joydeep Kaur.

Mid-fielders: Ritu Rani (captain), Vandana Katariya, Monika Malik, Chanchan Devi, Poonam Rani, MN Ponnamma.

Forwards: Roselin Dung Dung, Soundarya Yendala, Lily Chanu, Anupa Barla.