HOCKEY INDIA today announced the senior women’s squad who will take part in the Hawke’s Bay Cup to be held in Hasting, New Zealand from April 2-10.
The 18-member team will be led by Deepika for the tournament that is being seen as an important stop on the road to the 2016 Rio Olympics from the preparation point of view.
The selectors have tried their best to strike the right balance between experience and youth with the view to bolster the bench strength of the senior women’s team in an important year.
“It’s an important tournament for us especially in an Olympic year. A good performance in New Zealand will definitely boost our confidence. The team has players with enough talent and skills to get the better of some of the higher ranked teams in our pool,” said Captain, Deepika.
India, currently ranked 13th according to the latest FIH world rankings has been grouped in Pool B with New Zealand (4th), China (5th) and Ireland (15th). Apart from India, both New Zealand and China have also qualified for the Olympics. Pool A consists of Australia, Korea, Japan and Canada. The pool league matches will determine the seeding for the quarter-finals with all eight teams proceeding to the knock-out stage.
The challenge for the Indian team would be to improve upon their last year’s seventh place finish. India will take on the formidable Black Sticks in their opening encounter on 2 April 2016 before going up against Ireland on 3rd April and China on 5th April.
Training under the vigilant eyes of Chief Coach Neil Hawgood, the Indian eves will be aiming to put up an improved show in the tournament and further fuel their spirit ahead of the most crucial 2016 Rio Olympics.
“The Hawke’s Bay Cup will give the team a useful competition exposure. We will be trying out some new combinations and strategies. It’s also a good opportunity to test the bench strength. Our preparations have been good and we are hoping for a good performance in New Zealand,” said Neil Hawgood, Chief Coach India women’s hockey team.
The Indian women’s team is training at the preparatory camp that’s underway at the SAI Centre in Bangalore.
Deep Grace Ekka
Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam (Vice Captain)
Anuradha Devi Thokchom