Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh axed from Olympic Qualifiers clash

Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh axed from Olympic Qualifiers clash

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The new Indian hockey men’s team announced saw names like Birendra Lakra and Kothajit Singh being axed from the list while Rupinder Pal Singh was taken back as India are preparing to take on Russia for the Olympic Qualifiers on November 1-2. The women’s team announced has remained unchanged.

The 18-man squad of India men’s and women’s team, who would be playing in the Olympics Qualifiers against Russia and USA respectively, were announced on Friday. And while chief coach Graham Reid has decided to tinker with his side a bit, Sjoerd Marijne has shown full faith in the toured England successfully. 

“We have chosen a well balanced side with a number of good flexible options. We now need to focus on strategies against Russia, and ensure we are at our best when we step onto the field on 1st and 2nd November,” chief coach Graham Reid said on the team composition, reported Sportstar.

Rupinder would be bringing the edge for India from penalty corners and has taken India’s PC experts in the side to four now, with the others being Varun Kumar, Harmapreet Singh, and Amit Rohidas. India men’s side’s conversion rate has been quite shallow off late and Rupinder’s experience could help that massively against World No. 22 Russia. 

The eves would be taking an unchanged squad against USA. While their male counterpart remained undefeated on their tour, Marine’s girls saw one loss against the reigning Olympic champion. “We have retained the 18-member team from our preparatory tour of England. We have a good balance of players and, keeping in mind our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, I feel it is important to stay in the rhythm with the same players who performed well on the preparatory tour. We now focus on making sure that we leave no stone unturned when we take on USA,” Marijne said.

Both the men and women’s teams would be playing two back-to-back games with the winner on aggregate points booking a ticket for Tokyo.

Indian Men's Hockey Team:

P.R. Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, S.V. Sunil (Vice-Captain), Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh

Indian Women's Hockey Team:

Savita (Vice-Captain), Rajani Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo, Rani Rampal(Captain),  Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi

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