All of these players have abilities to turn the tables on their opposition in any given day.
The Women’s Hockey Asia Cup will begin in a few days. The tournament was initially scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand but was later moved to Muscat, Oman. The Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat will serve as its venue. Organized by the Asian Hockey Federation, it would witness the top eight teams from Asia competing for a chance to be crowned Asian Champions.
The winning team also qualifies directly to the FIH Hockey World Cup. Incidentally, India are the defending champions at the tournament. They won the championship beating China in the finals in 2017 in Kakamigahara, Japan. Apart from India, the other teams who will be competing are Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, China ,Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.
Let’s take a look at the top five players to watch out for in the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022.
5. Gurjit Kaur (India)
The 26-year-old Gurjit Kaur has been in great touch and her performance at the recent Asian Champions Trophy would attest to that. The proficient drag flicker was also the top scorer of the tournament with five goals.
This is despite the fact that India played just one game in the Asian Champions Trophy they chose to withdraw because of COVID-19 related issues. However, that one chance was all she needed as she scored five past Thailand. Kaur also played a crucial role in the 2017 edition of the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup.
4. Cheon Eun bi (South Korea)
Cheon Eun bi is one of South Korea’s most experienced players. The 30-year-old is a former gold medalist at the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon. She was also part of her nation’s 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams.
South Korea will definitely look up to her for guidance. Add that to her performance at the recently concluded Asian Champions Trophy, where she was adjudged the Best Player of the tournament. Cheon would definitely be riding high on confidence ahead of the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup as a victory would make South Korea a record four-time Women’s Hockey Asia Cup champions.
3. Wanli Tang (China)
Wanli Tang will be leading the Chinese squad in the 2022 Women’s Hockey Asia Cup campaign. The 26-year-old has been entrusted with a big responsibility on her shoulders. She replaced Ou Zixia, who led the side in the Asian Champions Trophy.
The skillful midfielder is known for her fast runs and dribbles with the ball. She also has good eyes for finding the strikers to provide important assists. Adept in defensive skills as well, she can also block the oncoming attacks with ease.
2. Kanon Mori (Japan)
The Japanese women’s hockey team has a classic striker spearheading their attack. The presence of Kanon Mori in its attack makes Japan a formidable foe. She was the pillar behind Japan’s success at the Asian Champions Trophy.
Mori became the second-highest scorer at the tournament with four goals. She began in the opening game against South Korea (50′) in a 1-0 victory and followed it up with a brace against China in a 3-2 win. Her final goal came against Thailand in a thumping 6-0 win. Mori is surely going to be hard to keep in check for any defender at the 2022 Women’s Hockey Asia Cup.
1. Savita Punia (India)
Hailed as the Great Wall of India, Savita Punia will be leading the Indian women’s team. Inevitably it was Punia’s outstanding performance that made India reach the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.
Savita’s quick reflexes and ability to read the opposition shots have proved to be decisive. Her saves at the 2017 Women’s Hockey Asia Cup is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Especially in the finals against China, where she made a an astonishing save. Savita’s composure under that bars helped her to grab the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament award that year. She will be more determined to repeat that feat in 2022 as well.