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Walmiki, Rupinderpal axed from Olympic hockey squad

June 11, 2012 17:38 IST
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Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri will lead the Indian hockey team at next month's London Olympics, from July 27 to August 12.

Sardar Singh will be his deputy in the 16-member squad.

Two changes were made to the squad that finished third in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Malaysia. Forward Yuvraj Walmiki and Rupinderpal Singh were dropped, and their places taken by Ignace Tirkey and Gurwinder Singh Chandi.

Walmiki and Rupinderpal's axing was on expected lines, as the duo struggled of late. Besides, Walmiki hasn't fully recovered from the injury he sustained during the Olympic qualifying event in February though he played in Malaysia.

The squad was picked after a two-day selection trial at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on June 6 and 7.

The selectors decided to go in with two goalkeepers -- captain Chetri and PR Sreejesh.

Sarwanjeet Singh and Kothajit Singh will travel with the team to London as standbys. The duo can only be included in the main team in case of serious injury to any of the first 16 players.

Tirkey will marshall the three-man Indian defence along with the drag-flick duo of Sandeep Singh and V R Raghunath.

The talismanic Sardar will spearhead the midfield, India's strongest area, in the company of Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra and Gurbaj Singh.

Forward Gurwinder Singh Chandi made a return to the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained during the Olympic test event in London last month.

Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker, S V Sunil, Dharamvir Singh and S K Uthappa complete the forward line.

Eight-time champions India are placed in Pool B, alongside Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands.

India open their Olympic campaign against the Netherlands on July 30 at the Riverbank Arena, followed by matches against New Zealand (August 1), reigning Olympic champions Germany (August 3), Korea (August 4) and Belgium (August 7).

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (captain), P R Sreejesh.

Full-backs: V R Raghunath, Ignace Tirkey, Sandeep Singh.

Midfielders: Sardar Singh (vice-captain), Gurbaj Singh, Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh.

Forwards: S V Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker, Dharamvir Singh, S K Uthappa.

Standbys: Sarvanjit Singh, Kothajit Singh.

Officials: Michael Nobbs (chief coach), Mohd Riaz (coach), Clarence Lobo (coach), David John (manager), Shrikant Iyengar (physiotherapist), Hari Shanker Narayanan (video analyst).

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