Hockey India names Men’s & Women’s teams for Olympic qualifiers

Bhubaneswar: Hockey India on Friday named the 18-member each Indian Men’s and Indian Women’s Hockey teams for the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers.

The matches are scheduled to take place on 1st and 2nd November at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The Indian Men’s Hockey team will be captained by Manpreet Singh and vice-captained by SV Sunil. The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will be led by Rani, with Savita serving as the vice-captain.

 The two teams are scheduled to take part in the two-legged FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha where the World No. 5 Indian Men’s Hockey team will be up against World No. 22 Russia, while the World No. 9 Indian Women’s Hockey Team will face World No. 13 USA.

 The Indian men’s team comprises of goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak, while the outfield players named in the side include experienced drag-flicker Rupinderpal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Captain Manpreet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Simranjeet Singh along with experienced attacking players in Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Vice-Captain SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, and Ramandeep Singh.

 “After a good preparation tour in Belgium, it was always going to be a very difficult decision to pick the best 18 players for this tournament. We have chosen a well-balanced side with a number of good flexible options. We now need to focus on strategies against Russia, and ensure we are at our best when we step onto the field,” Indian Men’s Hockey team’s Chief Coach Graham Reid said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Women’s Hockey team remained unchanged from their tour of England.

Experienced Goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu will guard the goal, while drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Captain Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi will serve as the outfield players.

 “We have retained the 18-member team from our preparatory tour of England. We have a good balance and mixture of players in the squad. Keeping in mind our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, I feel it is important to stay in the rhythm with the same players who performed well in the preparatory tour.

We now focus on making sure that we leave no stone unturned when we take on USA in the two matches,” expressed Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.

The winners of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha will qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.