Hockey India on Friday named a 18-member Indian women’s team for the Tokyo Olympics test event to be held from August 17-21.
The team is almost similar to the one which participated at the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima, Japan with chief coach Sjoerd Marijnethe having opted for just two changes.
Youngsters Sharmila Devi and Reena Khokhar were named in the team in place of Sunita Lakra and Jyoti. Khokhar had been sidelined due to an injury but makes a comeback into the side after recovering successfully, while Sharmila will be expecting to make her debut for the national side.
Striker Rani Rampal remained the captain while goalkeeper Savita will be her deputy.
The Indian team, currently no. 10 in the FIH Rankings, will face tough challenges as it will be up against the likes of world no. 2 Australia, China (11th) and hosts Japan (14th).
The team consists of experienced goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu while Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Gurjit Kaur, Salima Tete and Nisha will shoulder the defensive duties.
Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Lilima Minz and Neha Goyal will look to command the midfield. Rani, Navneet Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi are the forwards who have been picked in the team.
“We are looking forward to playing three top countries at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Test Event as I rate them all highly. We have selected a squad of 18 players where only 16 players will be allowed to play in accordance to the Olympic standards,” said Marijne.
“I will be very interested to see how we fare against these countries, and what we need to improve for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers because everything that we do, will be focused on that. We will be learning good lessons in this tour regardless of whatever happens.”
Goalkeepers: Savita (vice captain); Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Gurjit Kaur, Salima Tete, Nisha
Midfielders: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha Goyal
Forwards: Rani (captain), Navneet Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi.