India Junior Women Hockey team for the upcoming 7th Women’s Junior Asia Cup was announced today. Experienced forward Rani Rampal will lead the India team in Changzhou, China from 05 September to 13 September 2015.
India is placed in Pool A along with China, Malaysia, Singapore, DPR Korea. In Pool B, Korea Rep, Japan, Thailand and Chinese-Taipei will contest against each other. This tournament will be a qualification event for the Junior Women World Cup 2016.
Playing their first match on the opening day, 05 September 2015 against DPR Korea, the young Indian team will be aiming to open the tourney on a winning note. Post finishing third in the recent Volvo Invitational U-21 Women, the team has been practicing hard and working on various strategies to improve their game. The girls are undergoing its training sessions in Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi to polish their skills and emerge strong in all aspects of the game, with a focus on trying to cash in on the penalty corners.
Speaking on the team, Coach Baljeet Saini said, “The team looks confident ahead of the upcoming tournament. They are very much determined post their third place finish at the U-21 Volvo Invitational tournament and the team will aim for a win in the Junior Women Asia Cup. The girls have worked on the various aspects including starting the game with speed and improved their attacking skills.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the training session ahead of Women’s Junior Asia Cup, Women Team Chief Coach, Mathias Ahrens stated: “The Junior Team performed well at the recently concluded Volvo Invitational U-21 Tournament where they played against the top European teams. It was an exceptional experience, which we can use for the upcoming 7th Junior Asia Cup. Few players, who had some injury issues, have recovered well and are ready to go for the tournament. The young players are ready to learn new strategies and perform well at the international-level tournaments. There are some grey patches, which we have marked during the practice. We are working hard to rectify these short comings. We need more matches with some top class teams to help us improve our game.”
Commenting on the upcoming tournament Captain Rani said, “The team is in good shape and the preparatory camp has been helping us to improve our game each day. We are optimistic after our recent third place finish at the U-21 Volvo Invitational tournament and focusing on our strategies and working on rectifying our mistakes so that we come out as a strong unit. I am sure that we will see a good competition in the upcoming tournament and hope to finish it on a winning note.”
Junior Women Team Vice-Captain Navjot Kaur added: “Currently we are working on our physical fitness and stamina. There is a huge gap between us and the European players fitness, we are putting efforts to fill that gap. The 15-minute format requires more speed and fitness, and we are working harder to take our level up in this format. For the last few weeks, we have been practicing with the Senior core probables and their Coaching Staff. It’s been a pleasure to train alongside senior players like Ritu Rani and Rani Rampal. Players have improved a lot during this Preparatory Camp and we are confident for the upcoming 7th Junior Asia Cup.”
Speaking ahead of the 7th Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2015, forward player Anupa Barla said, “We are looking forward to the next tournament which will give us an opportunity to prove our mettle. We know the tournament will not be easy but the team is positive to fight it tough. We have worked hard on our attacks and penalty corner conversions and aim to stick to our strategies.”
India Team for 7th Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2015:
Goalkeepers: Inderpreet Kaur; Sheweta
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka; Namita Toppo; Gurjit Kaur; Jaspreet Kaur; Manjit Kaur; Rashmita Minz
Mid-fielders: M. Lily Chanu; Lilima Minz; Navjot Kaur (Vice Captain); Renuka Yadav; Preeti Dubey|
Forwards: Anupa Barla; Rani (Captain); Punam Barla; Navneet Kaur; Sonika