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Asian Games: Hopeful of top podium finish says skipper Rani Rampal of India’s Women Hockey team

Jakarta, Aug 17 (UNI) Though the Indian Women’s team is the highest ranked squad in 18th Asian Games hockey competition but the players are well aware that rankings means once the match starts.

“Ranking is good for the morale of the team, it provides physiological boost to the players that they belonged to higher grade side,” said team manager C.R.Kumar adding, “that you have to justify your ranking on the field”
Higher ranking does give you some advantage over your rival side to start with but that does not guarantee you a success unless you play well, Kumar opined.

He was hopeful of his girls doing well this time, “The players are well prepared and all of them are fit”

In this 10-nation competition, Indians are in Pool B along with Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia and have good chance to finish among the top two in the Pool to make the Semi Final cut.

Pool A comprises of China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong China, and Chinese Taipei Skipper Rani Rampal is also confident of performing well, ”we all know that title win here will get bus direct entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics”

“Winning gold in the Asian Games is not an easy task, top podium finish in Indonesia will give us a direct entry to 2020 Tokyo Olympics and it will be a help for us to prepare better for the Olympics”.
In previous nine editions of this event (Women hockey made its debut in the Games way back in 1982 at Delhi) India has one Gold, A silver and three- bronze to its credit while they finished fourth four times. In the last edition of the Games at Inchon, the girls in blue had bagged a bronze.

India last won a Gold kin women’s hockey was in 2002 Commonwealth Games. Early this year the Women’s team nearly missed out on a medal at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where they lost to England in the bronze playoff.
“We are going into the Asian Games after a strong performance in the FIH Women’s World Cup which has given us a lot of confidence”, Rani said.

Though we were disappointed that we did not make the semi-final, winning a gold in here will be great morale booster for the team,” the skipper added.

The team is upbeat, confident and we are eager to further improve our career best World Ranking of No.9 by winning the Asian Games”.

Rani was of the view that India had a a good chance to win a Gold in 2014, ”but we lost the closely fought semi final. We will like to make up for it this time. I am confident that we will be able to do it”

Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne was happy with the team’s form and fitness. “The squad is a mixture of experienced and young players. I’m happy that each of them have experienced what it is like to play at this level of competition”.

(Article authored by Harpal Singh Bedi)

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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