New Delhi [India]: With eyes set on the Women’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Final in Johannesburg, the Indian women’s team on Thursday headed to SAI, HATC in Shillaroo for a 24-day camp beginning today.
The camp will feature all 33 core probable women, which includes fresh faces, who have been selected based on their performance at the recently-concluded Hockey India 7th Senior Women National Hockey Championship 2017.
Swati from Hockey Madhya Pradesh joins Savita and Rajani Etimarpu in goalkeeping, while Navdeep Kaur, Hlunte Lalhlunmawii of Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Ritu of Hockey Haryana and Jyoti Dahiya of Association of Indian Universities will join defenders Deep Grace Ekka, P Sushila Chanu, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Rashmita Minz and Nikki Pradhan.
Karishma Yadav of Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Nilanjali Rai of Hockey Madhya Pradesh, K Ngaihpari of Hockey Mizoram and Neha of Railway Sports Promotion Board will be the new inclusions among the existing midfielders that include Ritu Rani, Monika, Namita Toppo, Udita, Lilima Minz and Renuka Yadav.
The 10-member forward line at the camp will have Rani, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Preeti Dubey, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anupa Barla, Reena Khokhar, Jyoti Gupta and Navneet Kaur.
At the tournament in Johannesburg, India is grouped in Pool B along with USA, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. Pool A features England, Germany, Japan, Poland and Ireland.
“The idea of having the National Camp in Shillaroo was to get used to playing in a high altitude environment. Johannesburg will be at 1750 meters and Shillaroo is at 2500 meters so hosting our camp in Shillaroo that will help us prepare better. For now we train with a core group of 33 women and the 18 member team will be selected after the selection trials,” expressed women’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.
While the national side began the new Olympic season on a high note with a series of wins starting from the Asian Champions Trophy last year, beating Belarus 5-0 in the Series earlier this year and returned victorious from the World League Round 2 in Canada, they also suffered a 5-0 defeat against New Zealand who are ranked No.5 in the world.
“Learning from the mistakes we made in New Zealand, we will need to work on handling higher speed, be stronger in our man-to-man marking and we also need to improve on ball possession. Though we lost matches in New Zealand, it gives us confidence for the way we played some of the matches. New Zealand is one of the best teams in the World at the moment and we needed this match experience to see what level we need to be at in order to win matches against higher-ranked teams,” stated Marijne.
In Shillaroo, the team will focus on improving their defence structure, speed and fitness. “Besides this the emphasis will be on converting PCs, working on different goal scoring variations and also practice shoot outs,” he added.
Goal keepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Swati
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, P. Sushila Chanu, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Rashmita Minz, Navdeep Kaur, Hlunte Lalhlunmawii, Ritu, Nikki Pradhan, Jyoti Dahiya
Midfielders: Monika, Namita Toppo, Karishma Yadav, Udita, Nilanjali Rai, K Ngaihpari, Neha, Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Renuka Yadav
Forwards: Rani, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Preeti Dubey, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anupa Barla, Reena Khokhar, Jyoti Gupta, Navneet Kaur. (ANI)