Sushila to lead Indian women's hockey team in Rio Olympics

Sushila to lead Indian women's hockey team in Rio Olympics

Sushila to lead Indian women's hockey team in Rio Olympics

 Defender Sushila Chanu will lead the 16-member Indian women's hockey team at the forthcoming Olympic Games to be held at Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.

Hockey India today named Sushila as the skipper in place of Ritu Rani who was dropped from the squad by the selectors due to poor form and attitude problems.

Sushila's colleague in the backline, Deepika will assist her as the vice-captain during the Games.

The team includes five defenders, five midfielders, five fowards and only one goalkeeper in Savita.

The women's team includes the experience of Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Sushila, Namita Toppo and Deep Grace Ekka in the defence.

The midfield will be manned by Renuka Llima Minz, Monika, Navjot Kaur and young Nikki Pradhan, while forward line consists of Rani Rampal, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thockchom and Preeti Dubey.

Just like the mens's team, the women's squad also has two reserve players in defender Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli and goalkeeper Rajani Etimmarpu.

This will be the first time in 36 years that Indian women's hockey team will be participating at the Olympic Games, after stellar show at the Hockey World League Semifinals in 2015.

Indian eves' only appearance in the Olympics till now was in the 1980 Moscow edition, but there was no qualification process back then.

Speaking about the selected squad, Indian women's hockey team's chief coach Neil Hawgood said they have handpicked the best-available team on the basis of merit.

"We have picked the best physically and mentally prepared team," Hawgood said during a gliterring team announcement function here today.

"It is a historic moment for the girls no matter whom we pick because they never played in the Olympics. The men's team have tasted the Olympics with seven players of the selected squad featuring at London. So we really don't know what's going to come over."

Asked about the experienced Ritu Rani's omission from the squad, Hawgood said: "We picked up a committed 16-member squad from the trials. We have selected the best 16."

Indian women's team captain Sushila said it is a huge responsibility given to her and she vowed to fullfil it to the best of her potential.

"I am really happy but I am little tensed as well because it is a big responsibility to lead the side in the Olympics after 36 years," Sushila said.

"But I have been a captain at the junior level and have got a lot of support. I am getting a lot of support here as well. So I think I won't have any problems."

The Indian eves will leave for USA on Thursday where they will play three practice games against Canada and two against USA before reaching Rio on July 29 for the Games.

Squad: Sushila Chanu (Captain and Defender), Navjot Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Savita, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Deepika (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Renuka Yadav, Sunita Lakra, Rani, Preeti Dubey, Lilima Minz.
Standbyes: Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Rajani Etimmarpu (Reserve Goalkeeper).

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