Rani Rampal to lead 16-member Indian Hockey team in Tokyo Olympics
Hockey India announced the squad for the upcoming mega event on Thursday.
With final preparations underway for the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics, Hockey India announced the final list of players selected to represent the Indian women’s Hockey team at the upcoming Olympic Games.
The 16-member squad strikes the perfect balance between continuity from the Rio Olympics 2016, and adopting a fresh approach for Tokyo Olympics. Eight experienced veterans have been named in the squad, while eight new players have been handed the chance to make their Olympic debut for Team India.
Speaking on the team selection, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “This team has worked very hard over the last few years and has made progress consistently. There’s a good mix of experienced players and new talent, which is excellent. We look forward to taking on the best in the world in Tokyo. This is a team with a lot of potential and drive which we hope to channelize to our best performance yet.”
The final squad includes eight stalwarts in Rani Rampal, Savita, Deep Grace Ekka, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur and Vandana Katariya. They have had the experience of representing India at the Rio Olympic Games after a gap of 36 years. These eight players have amassed a mammoth total of 1,492 caps between them for the Indian team.
This will be the Indian women’s Hockey team’s third appearance at the Olympic Games and their second consecutive outing, with previous appearances coming in 1980 and 2016. The Indian team have seen a steady rise over the past few years, clinching Olympic qualification for a historic second consecutive occasion on the back of their consistent performances in qualifying events.
Since Rio 2016, the team has experienced the highs of winning the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup, the Silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and making it to the Quarter Finals of the 2018 Women’s World Cup for the first time in history.
Congratulating the selected squad, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “Over the past few years, leading up to this edition of the Olympics, the women’s team has worked very hard to achieve their current form. I am confident that this team will give a tough competition to any opponent. I wish them all the very best for their preparation and performance at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.”
The eight Olympic debutants include drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Lalremsiami, Salima Tete. Tete had led the Indian team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires to a silver medal performance, also joins the team destined for Tokyo Olympics.
The women’s hockey team, which made history in Rio in 2016 after making an Olympic appearance after a 36-year-long wait, will now be looking to make its mark in Tokyo. The Indian players left no stone unturned in their preparation for the year’s showpiece event, with challenging tours to Germany and Argentina this year. A high-intensity national camp following the international tours has put the team in good stead ahead of the Olympic Games.
DEEP GRACE EKKA, NIKKI PRADHAN, GURJIT KAUR, UDITA.
NISHA, NEHA, SUSHILA CHANU PUKHRAMBAM, MONIKA, NAVJOT KAUR, SALIMA TETE.
RANI RAMPAL, NAVNEET KAUR, LALREMSIAMI, VANDANA KATARIYA, SHARMILA DEVI.