Small is beautiful for India hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne

Ahead of the New Zealand tour, India coach believes a smaller group of probables can raise the quality of training.

By Olympic Channel writer ·

After a productive year for the Indian women's hockey team that saw them qualify for the 2020 Olympics, the Rani Rampal-led side will start the new year off with a tour of New Zealand, which will include four matches against the hosts and one against Great Britain.

Prior to that, however, a probable squad has been announced for a 17-day camp, where the Indians will work on key areas such as fitness and strategies with an eye on the Olympics.

Smaller is smarter

Head coach Sjoerd Marijne believes that the tighter group will enhance the quality and level of training before they head off for New Zealand and eventually the Olympics.

Indian women's hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne named 25 probables for the senior women’s national camp. Photo courtesy: Hockey India

The preparatory camp will be focussing on improving key areas like fitness, ball-handling, structure and strategies, as the Indian team looks to gauge their preparations for Tokyo 2020 against New Zealand and Great Britain.

Speaking to PTI, Marijne said, “We are all looking forward to an exciting 2020 and all the challenges that will come in the year. We start the national coaching camp with 25 players who have been selected to compete for the final 16 spots in the Olympic team."

“Because the group is smaller now, we can raise the quality of training even more in the upcoming 17 days before we head to New Zealand to play four matches against the hosts and one match against Great Britain,” he explained.

A year to remember

In 2019, the Indian eves put out quality showings, winning the FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Test Event in Japan, as well as the Olympic qualifiers and wins on tour in Spain, Malaysia, South Korea and England.

India have been drawn in Group A at Tokyo 2020, alongside reigning champions Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and Ireland.

List of probables:

Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Bichu Devi Kharibam

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Manpreet Kaur, Gurjit Kaur, and Nisha. Among Midfielders, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Sonika, Namita Toppo.

Forwards: Rani, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Jyoti, Sharmila Devi, Udita.