New Delhi: India will be led by Vandana Katariya at the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy scheduled during October 29- November 5 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium, Singapore. The Hockey India today announced the Women’s team for the 4th version of the tournament which will also feature defending Champions Japan, China, Korea and Malaysia, other than India.
India would like to prove a point to the Indian Hockey fraternity which had expressed concerns after their horrible show at the Rio 2016 Summer Games. India’s quest in the tournament will be supported by Sunita Lakra (defender) who’ll don the role of Vice Captain for the tournament. Other members of the team are Savita & Rajani Etimarpu (both Goal-keepers); Deep Grace Ekka, Renuka Yadav, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli & Namita Toppo (all defenders); Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Rani, Deepika & Navdeep Kaur (all midfielders); Poonam Rani, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Preeti Dubey & Punam Barla (all forwards).
The tournament is planned as a round robin format with each team playing each other once followed by the Gold and Bronze medal matches.
Speaking about the Olympics disappointment and the expectations from the tournament, the Chief Coach of India Women Hockey Team Neil Hawgood said, “Though the Olympics could have ended better for the girls, they are high on confidence as they got to see what it really takes to play at the highest level and are vying to showcase top quality hockey during the Asian Champions Trophy. The team has been training at SAI, Bhopal over the past three weeks and are looking fresh from a well-deserved break post Rio.”
Speaking about the tournament and the chance to lead India to the Asian Champions Trophy, Vandana Katariya said, “I feel honoured to lead the team as they are a great bunch and we understand each other’s weak and strong points. Rio was a great experience and there is a lot of scope for us to improve and I feel this tournament will help us understand where we stand and how we can improve our game as a team as well as individually.”