Scotland, 17 July 2014: With the mix of experience and youth, the Senior Indian Women Hockey Team is getting ready for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games campaign. The team putting in the best efforts and practicing new modules to give a finishing touch to the preparations for the quadrennial event which will be hosted by Scotland in Glasgow.
With return of Rani Rampal, the women’s team will added strength in their forward line, while their men counterpart bank on youngsters Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah supported by SV Sunil and Akashdeep Singh, especially on Gurwinder Singh Chandi who will return to the action after nursing an injury.
Speaking on the practice sessions, Indian Women’s team Chief Coach Neil Hawgood said, “While the team is young but the kind of play that they showed in the recent Malaysian Tour gives me reason to be proud of them and confidence that we will deliver our best performance here. The girls are focused on their first match against Canada and we are working on the right team combination keeping the opponents in mind. The practice sessions are helping us get acclimatized with the weather and the situation and the feeling of playing as a team. The focus today was passes and penalty corner conversions and it was a positive session as the girls looked all glued to their goal ahead.”
Speaking on the forward line of the team, Chief Coach Terry Walsh said, “We have one of the best forward line as compared to the tournaments in the recent past. The two young players, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Ramandeep Singh who got injured before the start of the World Cup are set to make their comeback along with an experienced senior player Gurwinder Singh Chandi is a sign of added power to the our forward line. Gurwinder has good knowledge about tackling the ball in the circle and will play a key role in bringing positive results for the team.”
“I am confident that by combining the experience of these senior players, SV Sunil and Gurwinder Singh Chandi along with the opportunities created by our midfield will prove beneficial in increasing the conversion rate of the team and will produce excellent results. We still have more than a week ahead of our first game against Wales before which there are two practice games, scheduled against England and New Zealand this week, which will prove helpful in preparing the team better before commencing with matches in the tournament”
Speaking on his comeback, Gurwinder Singh Chandi said, “I am happy that I am back in the Indian team and that too for a big tournament, the Commonwealth Games. Although the comeback took me one and a half years but I utilized this period to work on my game which I will be using to my strength during the Commonwealth Games. The team is working hard on the forward position wherein our Chief Coach Terry Walsh is pushing us to give our best during these sessions and this has helped us to get closely weaved with each other’s style of game on the field. Australia is a pretty tough team in our Pool to compete with but we will perform at our best against every team that we play against according to the strategies prepared by our coaches. I am sure that we will be able to deliver and live up to the expectations of our fans.”
Women’s Captain Ritu Rani said, “The training sessions are picking up pace day by day as the tournament is approaching. While the whole team is excited about the matches, all the players are putting in their best during the practice sessions. Chief Coach Neil Hawgood has designed various strategies for the team and we are polishing them efficiently during our training sessions. We are currently working on our penalty corner strategy and we are confident of a winning start to the tournament. The recent success story of the Malaysian Tour has helped in boosting up the confidence of the whole team and we look forward to deliver similar results in the upcoming matches.”
The Indian Women Hockey Team arrived in Scotland on 9 July 2014 and for three days the team had their training sessions at the University of Edinburgh before reaching the Commonwealth Games Village on 13 July 2014. The Commonwealth Games will see a total of 10 teams divided into two groups. Indian women’s team is placed along with Canada, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa in Pool – A, while men’s team are up against Wales, Scotland, Australia and South Africa in Pool – A