Lakra to lead Indian women

Asunta Lakra will lead an 18-member squad announced on Tuesday for the Olympic qualifiers from February 18-26 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

The team was selected on the basis of performances of the core group of probables during the recently concluded India- Azerbaijan Test Series by Hockey India selectors-- Col. Balbir Singh, B.P. Govinda, Syed Ali and Rekha Bhide, alongwith government observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey.

Unlike the men's team selection, there has been no controversial omissions. “This is the best possible team. I am quite satisfied with the mix,” coach CR Kumar said.

The team will be playing four practice matches in February with the local boys’ team to prepare for the event.

The tournament will feature teams from Canada, Italy, Poland, South Africa and Ukraine besides India. While Canada has already arrived, the other teams are expected to turn up after February 10.

India will open their campaign against Ukraine on February 18. All India matches will be played at 6.00 pm under flood lights.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Yogita Bali, Savita. Defenders: Jaspreet Kaur, Joydeep Kaur, Subhadra Pradhan. Mid-fielders: P Sushila Chanu, Asunta Lakra (capt), Kirandeep Kaur (vice-capt), Deepika, Ritu Rani, Mukta Prava Barla. Forwards: Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Rani, Soundarya Yendala, Anuradha Devi, Rosaline Dung Dung, Jasjeet Kaur Handa. Standbys: Rajani Etimarpu (goalkeeper), Pinki Devi (defender), M. N Ponnamma (midfielder), Deep Grace Ekka (midfielder), Anupa Barla (forward), Lily Chanu (Forward).

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