Ritu to skipper Indian women’s Asiad hockey team

New Delhi :  Midfielder Ritu Rani will lead a 16-member Indian women’s hockey team in the upcoming Asian Games, aiming to do better than the fifth place finish it managed in the recent Commonwealth Games.

The team for the September 19 to October 4 Games in Incheon, South Korea was selected by a panel comprising B P Govinda, Harbinder Singh and Surinder Kaur along with Director High Performance Roelant Oltmans and chief coach Neil Hawgood.

Speaking ahead of the important tournament, Hawgood said, “The team has been practicing thoroughly all this while and are in their best form currently. The girls are in uplifted spirits and we expect a really high level of game from them. The women are looking forward to a tough fight against all the teams and are aiming for a top finish in the pool matches.”

The squad was picked on the basis of their performance in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games and selection trials conducted at NIS in Patiala on August 10.

The team, led by captain Ritu (184 caps) will feature midfielder Amandeep Kaur (9 caps) and defender Monika (12 caps) among other young players. Defender Deepika (131 caps) will be the vice-captain of the team.

Riding high on the clean sweep victory over Malaysia, the Indian eves will be seen taking on Thailand in their first match of the tournament on September 22. The next clashes on the cards for the Indian women are against China on September 24 and Malaysia on September 26.

The team is currently practicing at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here and scheduled to depart for Incheon, South Korea, on September 13.

The Team: Goalkeeper: Savita (84 Caps) Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (62 Caps), Deepika (131 Caps), Sunita Lakra (30 Caps), Namita Toppo (51 Caps), Jaspreet Kaur (62 Caps), Sushila Chanu (76 caps), Monika (12 Caps). Midfielders: Ritu Rani (184 Caps), Lilima Minz (33 Caps), Amandeep Kaur, Chanchan Devi Thokchom (105 caps). Forwards: Rani (116 Caps), Poonam Rani (118 caps), Vandana Katariya (104 Caps), Navjot Kaur (27 Caps).

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