4 from Odisha in Indian hockey team for Korea tour

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 away series against Korea.

Team India will play five matches against the hosts in the series at Jinchun National Athletic Centre in South Korea starting from March 3.

Ace striker Rani Rampal will lead the Indian team while defender Sunita Lakra from Odisha has been named as vice-captain for the tour.

Poonam Rani is making a comeback into the Indian side after gap of few tournaments and senior goalkeeper Savita has been rested for the upcoming tour. Deep Grace Ekka will be a part of the defence line-up while Namita Toppo and Lilima Minz will play in the midfield.

“Doing well in the season’s first event is always important to gain confidence and keep the momentum for the rest of the year. Also, Korea Tour will help us analyse the areas that requires improvement ahead of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where we aim to finish top on the podium,” said chief coach Harendra Singh.

This tour to Korea will be India’s first series abroad after their historic win in the Asia Cup where they defeated China in closely fought finals.

“We have a good mix of experienced players who will play an important role in guiding some of the youngsters in the team,” informed Harendra.



Goalkeepers: Rajani Etimarpu, Swati

Defenders: Deepika, Sunita Lakra (VC), Deep Grace Ekka, Suman Devi Thoudam, Gurjit Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam

Midfielders: Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Udita

Forwards: Rani Rampal (C), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Poonam Rani