Rourkela: The Hockey Association of Odisha today announced its 18-member squad to compete in the 13th Hockey India Sub Junior Women National Championship 2023, scheduled to begin on May 4.
The tournament will continue for 11 days and the Final match is scheduled to be held on May 14. All the matches of the tournament will be played at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela. A total of 28 teams will battle it out for the top honours.
The Odisha team will be led by Captain Amisha Kullu (Goalkeeper), while Tanuja Toppo is the Vice-Captain of the team. Sushmita Dungdung, Karuna Minz, and Puja Majhi are some of the key players to look out for given their phenomenal performance in the 2022 Khelo India Youth Games.
Speaking about the team’s preparations for the Championship, Coach Pinas Das said, “The players have been working hard ahead of the Championship. The atmosphere in the team is positive. We have a good mix of young and experienced players. We have good momentum going into this tournament. The players play each game like it is their first, which in my opinion is their best quality.”
Notably, some of the Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC’s homegrown athletes have also been shortlisted by the Hockey Association in the 18-member team with likes of goalkeepers Amisha Kullu and Pabitra Hodam, striker and defensive midfielder Doli Bhoi and Drupati Naik, and defender Neharika Toppo.
“Our coach has been very supportive in our journey towards the Nationals. He has been training us for this very moment to see us succeed and we will give our best to win the tournament,” said Sushmita Dungdung.
The Odisha team will be up against Kerala Hockey on May 4. The competing teams are grouped into four pools. Pool A consists of Hockey Haryana, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu and Tripura Hockey, while Hockey Jharkhand, Hockey Bengal, and Hockey Uttarakhand are placed in Pool B. Pool C has Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Chhattisgarh Hockey and Delhi Hockey, while Pool D features Hockey Madhya Pradesh, Assam Hockey, and Hockey Himachal.
Hockey Odisha squad:
Goalkeeper: Amisha Kullu (Captain) and Pabitra Hodam
Deep defender: Sushmita DungDung, Neharika Toppo and Sonali Ekka
Flank defender: Sanadam Babyrani Devi, Nisha Dadel and Puja Majhi
Defensive midfielder: Drupati Naik, Premsila Bage and Amisha Ekka
Attacking midfielder: Janhabi Bada and Tanuja Toppo (Vice-Captain)
Left striker: Deepika Barwa
Centre striker: Karuna Minz and Jyoti Xaxa
Right striker: Binati Minz and Doli Bhoi