PUNE: Striker Rani, who led India to Women’s Asia Cup title last year, has been named captain of the 18-member Indian Women’s hockey team for the 18th Asian Games.
Hockey India has named goalkeeper Savita as her deputy for the 18th Asian Games 2018 to be held in Jakarta-Palembang from August 18 to September 2.
Savita will have Rajani Etimarpu at the goalpost for the prestigious event where India will vie for the Gold to earn a direct qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India’s defence will feature the experienced Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Reena Khokhar and dragflicker Gurjit Kaur while the team’s midfield will include Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Udita, Nikki Pradhan and Neha Goyal.
“We have a good mixture of experienced and young players,” expressed Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.
He further added that the team’s performance at the forthcoming Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 starting July 21 will have an impact ahead of the 18th Asian Games.
“Playing well in London will be good for the confidence of the team ahead of the 18th Asian Games. I can tell the team that they are good and that they are capable of winning against any team but when you experience it yourself it is always better for the confidence,” added Marijne.
While India have etched their place as a dominant team at the Asian level with their winning performances at the 9th Women’s Asia Cup and the Asian Champions Trophy (winners in 2016; runners up in 2018), China, ranked No.8 in the world, and Korea ranked at No.9 will be a threat to India’s campaign for Gold at the Asian Games.
Goalkeepers: Savita (Vice-Captain), Rajani Etimarpu.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar,
Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal.
Forwards: Rani (Captain), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur.
THAKUR IS CAPTAIN OF KABADDI TEAM
- Ajay Thakur, who impressed all with his captaincy skills in the recently concluded six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai tournament, has once again been handed the responsibility to lead the Indian Kabaddi team for the upcoming Asain Games to be held in Jakarta-Palembang from August 18 to September 2. The Kabaddi event will be played from August 19 to 24.
- Ajay was part of the 2014 Asian Games team which won the gold medal defeating Iran in the final at Incheon, Korea.
- Except Ajay, rest all the members in the Indian team will be making their Asian Games debut. Indian team consist of players like Deepak Hooda, Monu Goyat, Rahul Choudhari, Rishank Devadiga who all stole the limelight in Pro Kabaddi League (PKL)Season-6 auctions.
- All these players where also a part of Indian team at Kabaddi Masters Dubai where they defeated Iran to lift the title.
- Team India will also have high expectations from seasoned campaigner like Pardeep Narwal, Mohit Chhillar and Sandeep Narwal who have proved their mettle while playing for their respective franchisees in PKL.
TWO FROM MAHARASHTRA
- Rishank and Girish Ernak who played key role in earning Maharashtra the national title after a gap of 11 years have also been included in the team.
- Rishank, who will be part of UP Yoddha for PKL Season 6 has impressed all with his raiding skills, while Girish - a defender who plays for Puneri Paltan, will be a vital cog in defence quadrant.
TEAM: Girish Ernak, Deepak Hooda, Mohit Chhillar, Sandeep Narwal, Pardeep Narwal, Rishank Devadiga, Monu Goyat, Ajay Thakur (Captain), Rohit Kumar, Raju Lal Choudhary, Mallesh Gagadhari, Rahul Chaudhari
Reserves: Amit Nagar, Maninder Singh.