Report by Avilash Panigrhi, Bhubanesewar: Ace Defender Sunita Lakra will captain defending champion India at the women’s Champions Trophy, to be held in Donghae City, Korea, from May 13.The experienced defender was handed the responsibility in the absence of regular captain Rani Rampal,who has been rested for the tourney. Goal-keeper Savita is chosen as Sunita’s deputy. Including Sunita, five Odia girls have made their way into the national women’s hockey squad for the upcoming event. Defenders Deep Grace Ekka and Sunita Lakra will be the backbone of the Indian team, while Namita Toppo and Lilima Minz will be tasked with game-making duties from midfield. Anupa Barla will be among the forwards.
The team will be buoyed by its good showing at the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games; it qualified for the semifinals after 12 years at the Games, eventually finishing fourth. It wasn’t a one-off; in 2016, India had defeated China in the final to win the previous edition of the Asian Champions Trophy. India had followed this up with the 2017 Asia Cup title.This year, the team begins its campaign against Japan on May 13.
The Asian Champions Trophy is expected to be coach Sjoerd Marijne’s first assignment with the team following his return to the women’s camp after being in charge of the senior men’s side for eight months.
Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik and Former Indian Captain Dilip Tirkey took Twitter to wish Sunita Lakra for her achievement.
Congratulations to Sunita Lakra on being appointed captain of #TeamIndia for #AsianChampionsTrophy Hockey at Korea. Proud that our girls Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz & Anupa Barla will be representing the Nation at the tournament. Wish them all success
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) May 2, 2018
— Dilip Kumar Tirkey (@DilipTirkey) May 2, 2018
#Odisha defender Sunita Lakra to captain the 18 members Indian women’s team for the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament to be held in Korea from 13th May. Congratulations Sunita. We are proud of you. pic.twitter.com/Ux8SZC6VnE
— Sports & Youth Dept. (@dsys_odisha) May 2, 2018
- Goalkeepers:Savita, Swati.
- Defenders: Deepika, Sunita Lakra (c), Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Suman Devi Thoudam.
- Midfielders:Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Udita.
- Forwards:Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Anupa Barla.