Odisha’s Dipsan Tirkey to lead Indian Junior Hockey Team
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Odisha hockey player Dipsan Tirkey has been named skipper of the Indian junior team for the upcoming under-23 Six Nations Tournament to be played from July 14 in Antwerp, Belgium.
Defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess and forward Shilanand Lakra from the State have also been included in the 18-member Indian squad that was selected today by Hockey India.
Hardik Singh will be the vice-captain of the team which includes goalkeepers Pankaj Kumar Rajak and Prashant Kumar Chauhan; defenders Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Pardeep Singh, Mandeep Mor, Somjeet and Mohd. Faraz.
The midfield will be handled by Hardik Singh, Dharminder Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Vishal Antil and Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem while the forward line will feature Shilanand Lakra, Abhishek, Abharan Sudev Belimagga, Mohammed Raheel Mouseen and Mohammad Umar.
“The U-23 Six Nations Tournament in Belgium will prove to be a good test for our younger players of the Core Group. We will be playing against some of the best youth teams from around the world, which will help our players get good exposure,” said David John, High Performance Director of Hockey India.
This tour will also help in developing our team that will take part in the 8th Sultan of Johor Cup 2018 to be held in October later this year. It will be a crucial tournament for some of the athletes in terms of international exposure.
— David John
Dipsan Tirkey and Shilanand Lakra have previously represented the Indian senior team as well. Dipsan played for the senior team for the first time last year in Asia Cup held in Bangladesh where India became champions while Shilanand played in the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Competition earlier this year.
I always love shouldering responsibility as it gives me more confidence. We have a balanced team and will look forward to combine together against our opponents in Belgium. Personally, I will try to do well in the tournament so that I get a chance to play for the senior team again.
— Dipsan Tirkey, Captain
Nilam Sanjeep Xess captained the India Under-18 team in the Asia Cup last year and has been a consistent performer. He also represented the Bhubaneswar-based Hockey India League franchise Kalinga Lancers in 2017 when the Lancers were crowned champions for the first time.
Speaking exclusively to odishatv.in, Nilam Sanjeep Xess said, “I am delighted to play in the Indian under 23 team and all set to travel to Belgium. The upcoming tournament will be very crucial for me and the team. I am also happy that Dipsan will be leading the side as me and Dipsan have good understanding between us which I think will be beneficial for the team.”
Five round-robin matches will be played by the Indian team in the U-23 Six Nations Tournament against Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, Malaysia and Netherlands. The top two out of six teams will face each-other in the final game on July 21.
The Indian team led by Dipsan will be playing their opening game on July 14 against Ireland.
Meanwhile, mid-fielder Mariana Kujur from Odisha has found place in the women’s junior team for the U-23 Women’s Six Nations hockey tournament to be held simultaneously with the men’s tournament.
Indian Men’s U-23 Squad:
Pankaj Kumar Rajak and Prashant Kumar Chauhan
Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Pardeep Singh, Mandeep Mor, Somjeet and Mohd. Faraz
Hardik Singh, Dharminder Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Vishal Antil and Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem
Shilanand Lakra, Abhishek, Abharan Sudev Belimagga, Mohammed Raheel Mouseen and Mohammad Umar
Photo Credit: Hockey India