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Women's hockey team on test
May 10, 2004 19:38 IST
An 18-member 'developmental' women's hockey team will be looking to get some "valuable exposure" as it faces the region's top sides including Asian Games gold medallist China in the four-nation hockey tournament, at Gifu, Japan, beginning on May 13.
The team, comprising several rookies, is not expected to do wonders in the competition, but coach Rajinder Singh is confident the tournament will at least do a "world of good" to the confidence of the players, most of whom will be making their debut at the international level.
South Korea and Japan are the other teams in the fray.
"All our opponents are fielding their best teams. So it would be a great exposure to the players at the highest level," Rajinder, namesake of men's team coach, said in Delhi on Monday.
"We have 10 players who would be playing in an international tournament for the first time. So it would test them to the hilt."
Rajinder, who also coaches the Punjab and Sind Bank men's team, said a good performance in Japan would also help the players make a name for themselves.
"This is also an attempt to see who have the potential to play at the highest level. They have been given a chance and their performance would be assessed. More than winning or losing, how these youngsters play is more important."
Most of the members of the team, led by Neha Singh, are in their teens.
"This is the age when we can prepare them for the future," Rajinder said.
He said the performance of the main team, which lost the four-match series against New Zealand 2-0, would have no bearing on the minds of the players.
"We are looking forward to make the most of the visit by coming up with our best effort."
The members underwent training at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, from April 1 before coming to Delhi on May 5 for a five-day preparatory camp at the National Stadium.
Rajinder said the team has analysed the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents.
"We watched them play at the Asia Cup, which India won. Now we would do some more work on our strategies after reaching Japan. Ours is a developmental team. But you never know, we could win some matches and even the title," an optimistic Rajinder said.
The team: Neha Singh (captain), Rajani Bala, S S Nilan, Anjana Barla, Sushila Lakra, Rajwinder Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur, Gagandeep Kaur, Manju, Fulmani Soy, Dipika, Anita Ekka, Sarita Lakra, Sushma Kiran Minz, Simarjeet Kaur, Amrita Minz, Prem Shiela Kujur, Sumitra Tirkey.