Hockey India on Friday announced the 16-member Indian men’s & women’s hockey squads for the Tokyo Olympics.
P. R. Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh and Mandeep Singh add experience to the side, while Amit Rohidas, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit, and debutant forwards Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay are the fresh legs.
Speaking on the team selection, Chief Coach Graham Reid said, “It has not been an easy process to make the final selection of 16 players as there is a lot of quality and ambition in this group of players. The performance levels of all the athletes are at an optimum level and more importantly, they work well together. They know what it means to represent the country at the Olympics. We are now focussed on training with the same intensity and our goal is to put forward our best performance as a collective unit in Tokyo.”
Congratulating the selected squad, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “The Indian Men’s Hockey Team has a rich legacy of Olympic performances to follow, and I feel this time, more than ever the team is in a position to revisit its glory days to emerge as a top medal contender. The recent performance against Olympic Champions Argentina at the FIH Pro League shows they are headed in the right direction. I wish them all the best.”
India will be aiming to win its first gold medal since the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The Indian men’s team is grouped in Pool A along with reigning Olympic champion Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and host Japan.
P. R. SREEJESH
HARMANPREET SINGH, RUPINDER PAL SINGH, SURENDER KUMAR, AMIT ROHIDAS, BIRENDRA LAKRA
HARDIK SINGH, MANPREET SINGH, VIVEK SAGAR PRASAD, NILAKANTA SHARMA, SUMIT
SHAMSHER SINGH, DILPREET SINGH, GURJANT SINGH, LALIT KUMAR UPADHYAY, MANDEEP SINGH
Eight Olympic Debutants for India Women
The squad strikes the perfect balance between continuity from the Rio Olympics 2016 and adopting a fresh approach for Tokyo. Eight experienced veterans have been named in the squad, while eight new players have been handed the chance to make their Olympic debut for Team India.
The final squad includes Rani, Savita, Deep Grace Ekka, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur and Vandana Katariya – who have had the experience of representing India at the historic appearance of the Indian women’s team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games after a gap of 36 years.
Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “This team has worked very hard over the last few years and has made progress consistently. There’s a good mix of experienced players and new talent, which is excellent. We look forward to taking on the best in the world in Tokyo. This is a team with a lot of potential and drive which we hope to channelise to our best performance yet.”
This will be the Indian Women’s Hockey team’s third appearance at the Olympic Games and their second consecutive outing, with previous appearances coming in 1980 and 2016.
The eight Olympic debutants include drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Lalremsiami – who is the first player hailing from Mizoram in the team and Salima Tete – who led the Indian team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires to a silver medal performance, also joins the team destined for Tokyo.
The team continues its preparations at the ongoing camp at SAI Centre Bengaluru with the games taking place from 23rd July to 6th August in Tokyo.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita
Midfielders: Nisha, Neha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete
Forwards: Rani, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila Devi