Bhubaneswar: Three players from Odisha were selected in the Indian Women’s Hockey Team for the Republic of Korea tour scheduled on May 20.
The Hockey India on Friday announced the names of Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka and Lilima Minz in the 18-member squad for the upcoming bilateral series of three Test Matches at the Jinchun National Athletic Center, Jinchun, Korea.
Captained by Forward Rani and Vice-Captained by Goalkeeper Savita, the Odisha’s three players will have clash against Korean Women’s Hockey team under Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.
The matches will help the Indian team in preparing for the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019, which is scheduled to be held from June 15th – 23rd in Hiroshima, Japan, said Hockey India in a release.
Since the start of the year, the Indian team has also toured Spain in January-February 2019 where they played bilateral matches against the host nation and Ireland, which saw them finish with a record of two wins, three draws and a loss. The team also embarked on their Malaysia Tour in April 2019 which saw them remain unbeaten against the Malaysian Women’s Hockey team as they won four matches and drew one.
Experienced Goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu will be guarding the goalpost in the three-match Republic of Korea tour while defender Gurjit Kaur makes a return to the team after having missed the Malaysia Tour due to injury. She will be accompanied by Salima Tete, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Karishma Yadav and Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam in defence, while Monika, Navjot Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz will command the midfield for India. Captain Rani also makes a return after missing Malaysia Tour due to injury, and she will be joined by Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Jyoti and Navneet Kaur in attack, the release stated.
Speaking about the importance of the tour ahead of the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019, Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “I am happy with the return of experienced players like Rani and Gurjit Kaur in the squad, and pleased that they are fully fit to play these matches. This tour will give us the chance to take a good final step against a strong opponent in our preparation for the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019. We have identified areas in our game that needed improvement from our past two tours this year, and have worked on them in training, and it is now time to show the improvement in the matches.”
Indian Women’s Hockey Squad for Korea tour:
1. Savita (Vice-Captain)
2. Rajani Etimarpu
3. Salima Tete
4. Sunita Lakra
5. Deep Grace Ekka
6. Karishma Yadav
7. Gurjit Kaur
8. Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam
10. Navjot Kaur
11. Nikki Pradhan
12. Neha Goyal
13. Lilima Minz
14. Rani (Captain)
15. Vandana Katariya
18. Navneet Kaur