New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: Four female hockey players from Odisha, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Deep Grace Ekka and Lilima Minz have been picked in the Indian Women’s Hockey squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4 to April 15.
The 18-member women’s squad for the prestigious competition was announced by Hockey India today.
Ace striker Rani Rampal will lead the Indian team while goalkeeper Savita has been named as vice-captain for the games.
Along with Savita, Rajani Etimarpu will shoulder the responsibility of guarding the goalpost while the defence unit is packed with experienced players including Odisha’s Sunita Lakra and Deep Grace Ekka.
Two other players from the State, Namita Toppo and Lilima Minz will be part of the midfield along with Monika, Nikki Pradhan and Neha Goyal.
Skipper Rani Rampal and Vandana Katariya will be the strikers.
“We have played with the same set of players for a long period so the players have formed a great understanding between themselves which was evident during our 2017 Asia Cup triumph. The team also performed well in South Korea to beat a higher-ranked side and we will be looking to cause a few upsets and aim for the podium as the morale is high going into the prestigious Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games,” said chief coach Harendra Singh.
India is in Pool A along with Malaysia, Wales, England and South Africa. In its first game, India will face Wales on April 5. India will then meet Malaysia, England and South Africa on April 6, 8 and 10 respectively.
Savita (VC) and Rajani Etimarpu
Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur and Sushila Chanu
Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz
Rani (C), Vandana Katariya , Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Poonam Rani and Navneet Kaur