Manpreet, Rani to lead Indian teams at Olympic Qualifiers
New Delhi, Oct. 19 (IANS): Manpreet Singh and Rani Rampal will lead the respective Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams at the upcoming Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to take place on November 1st and 2nd at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The two teams are scheduled to take part in the two-legged Qualifiers where the World No. 5 Indian men’s team will be up against World No. 22 Russia, while the World No. 9 Indian women’s team will face World No. 13 the US.
The men’s team has two goalkeepers in P.R. Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak. Captain Manpreet leads the forward line which also includes 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,” said men’s head coach Graham Reid.
“We now need to focus on strategies against Russia, and ensure we are at our best when we step onto the field on 1st and 2nd November.”
The women’s team remained unchanged from its tour of England.
“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, and 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 the US in the two matches,” expressed women’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne on his side.
The winners of the Qualifiers will qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled to be held next year.
Men’s Squad: Manpreet Singh (C), PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, S.V. Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh.
Women’s squad: Rani Rampal (C), Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi.