Some old and lots of new faces in Hockey India's 60-strong women's assessment squad

The assessment camp will be held at the Sports Authority of India centre here and selection trials to prune down the squad to 33 for future coaching camps and international exposure tours will be conducted on the April 6 and 7

Published - April 01, 2024 09:53 pm IST - Bengaluru

Veterans like goalkeeper Savita Punia and forward Vandana Katariya made the cut among a host of new faces in Hockey India's jumbo assessment squad of 60 for a seven-day camp starting Monday, at the end of which trials to pick 33 national probables would be conducted.

The assessment camp will be held at the Sports Authority of India centre here and selection trials to prune down the squad to 33 for future coaching camps and international exposure tours will be conducted on the April 6 and 7.

"The 60-player core group has been shortlisted following the stellar performances at the recently concluded 14th Hockey India Senior Women's National Championship in Pune," Hockey India said in a statement.

Hockey India had promised a revamp of the national camp after the team's failure to make the cut for Paris Olympics despite being the hosts of the qualifying tournament earlier this year.

"This selection identifies promising talent from across various states based on their impressive performances throughout the tournament," the HI stated.

"These players will now be closely monitored as they vie for a spot in the final 33-member core probables for the Indian Women's Hockey Team," it added.

The players will report to women's hockey team coach Ankitha BS, who has been handed the role after Dutch-woman Janneke Schopman resigned from the job citing lack of respect and hostile work environment.

HI said Ankitha will hold the position "until such time that a suitable chief coach is appointed." The assessment squad includes goalkeepers Savita, Sonal Minj, Bichu Devi Kharibam, Madhuri Kindo, Bansari Solanki, Promila Kr, and Ramya Kurmapu.

Barring Savita and Bichu, all others are new entrants with Uttar Pradesh's Bansari Solanki being touted as a promising talent.

The 22-year-old has done well at the junior level and was also a solid performer in the recent nationals for her state.

"The 14th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship proved to be a gold mine. We have picked out the best performers from the teams in the National Championship, irrespective of prior involvement in the national setup," Hockey India High Performance Director Herman Kruis said.

"Now we have a good mixture of players who have been around the National Team and players who displayed immense potential. The objective going ahead is to pick the best 33 players for the Indian women's hockey team core probables," he added, referring to about 30 new names who have been picked.

The defenders reporting to the camp here will be Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Ropni Kumari, Lalhlunmawii, Preeti, T Suman Devi, Anjana Dungdung, and Nishi Yadav. A notable absentee is Gurjit Kaur, who was part of the squad during the fourth-place finish in the Tokyo Olympics.

Most of the mid-fielders picked for the camp have prior experience of national duty with Maharashtra's Bhavna Khade and Bengal's Maxima Toppo riding on their good national championship performance to be among the new entrants.

The new faces in the forwards line-up include Rutaja Dadaso Pisal, a 21-year-old from Maharashtra who did well in the Nationals and also represented the country in the Hockey 5s World Cup in January this year.

Players selected for assessment camp: ======================= Goalkeepers: Savita, Sonal Minj, Bichu Devi Kharibam, Madhuri Kindo, Bansari Solanki, Promila Kr, Ramya Kurmapu Defenders: Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Ropni Kumari, Lalhlunmawii, Preeti, T Suman Devi, Anjana Dungdung, Nishi Yadav.

Midfielders: Monika, Sonika, Neha, Mahima Choudhary, Nisha, Jyoti, Salima Tete, Manashri Shedage, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Lalruatfeli, Marina Lalramnghaki, Prabhleen Kaur, Manisha Chauhan, Ishika Chaudhary, Ritanyna Sahu, Jyoti Chhatri, Ajmina Kujur, Sujata Kujur, Kruthika Sp, Mahima Tete, Mamta Bhat, Edula Jyothi, Anisha Dungdung, Bhavna Khade, Maxima Toppo Forwards: Deepika, Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur, Deepika Soreng, Sangita Kumari, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Rutaja Dadaso Pisal, Lalrindiki, Lalremsiami, Vertika Rawat, Preeti Dubey, Hritika Singh, Mariana Kujur, Mumtaz Khan, Taranpreet Kaur, Baljeet Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Dipi Monika Toppo, Kajal S Atpadkar, Manju Chorsiya.

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