India announced their 16-member women’s hockey squad for the Tokyo Games, which will take place from July 23 to August 8, on Thursday, with eight Olympic debutants and as many veterans. The roster is an ideal blend of youth and experience, with eight players having previously represented India in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In the quadrennial Games, India’s star striker Rani Rampal will lead the side.
Good mix of Experienced Players + New Talent = 𝗘 𝗫 𝗖 𝗘 𝗟 𝗟 𝗘 𝗡 𝗖 𝗘
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) June 17, 2021
Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Lalremsiami, the first player from Mizoram on the team, and Salima Tete are among the eight Olympic debutants. Salima Tete had led the Indian squad to a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos.
Captain Rani, goalie Savita, Deep Grace Ekka, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur, and Vandana Katariya are among the eight experienced players that competed in the last Olympics. These eight players have a combined total of 1,492 caps in their careers. Savita is the only goalkeeper on the squad, which also includes four defenders, six midfielders, and five strikers.
The Indian women’s hockey team will be competing in the Olympic Games for the third time, and for the second time in a row, after prior appearances in 1980 and 2016. The women’s squad has been steadily improving since Rio 2016, winning the Asian Champions Trophy, the 2017 Asia Cup, and a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games. They also made history by reaching the 2018 Women’s World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Indian women’s hockey team achieved history by qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in 36 years. The group is now practising for the Games at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre here as part of a national camp.