The Indian junior women's hockey team left for Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday to take part in the FIH Women's Junior World Cup 2021, an event that got postponed due to the Covid-19 threat. The tournament will begin on April 1 in Potchefstroom, and India will be led by Olympian Salima Tete.
The World Cup will be the junior team's first outing since their tour of Chile in 2021, where they remained unbeaten. Salima Tete said at departure, "The long wait finally ends for us. We are absolutely excited to take part in the Junior World Cup. We got a good time preparing ourselves; we trained with the senior team and I think it will really help us in doing well in the competition. We are really looking forward to this challenge and our aim is to finish on the podium."
Meanwhile, India is placed in Pool D, and will begin their campaign on 2nd April against Wales. Their second match in the tournament will be versus Germany, followed by the match against Malaysia.
Talking about the preparations, Salima said, "Several players like Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Deepika, Sangita Kumari, Bichu Devi Kharibam and Ishika Chaudhary had recently made their senior team debuts at the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22, so we are pretty much in a good frame of mind. We are in good shape and confident of doing well. We even got a chance to play practice matches with the senior team, so the training and preparations have been really good. We are motivated, and will certainly give our best to finish on the podium."