Uttam Singh and Preet have been named captains of the respective Indian junior hockey teams that will compete at the upcoming editions of the Junior Asia Cup.
The men’s and women’s Junior Asia Cup will be a qualifying event for the forthcoming FIH Junior Men’s World Cup in Malaysia this December and FIH Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup in Chile in November-December.
Last Thursday, Hockey India named the 18-member Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team for the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 to be held in Salalah, Oman from 23rd May to 1st June 2023. The tournament will see India grouped in pool A along with nemesis Pakistan, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei while Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan are grouped in pool B.
The Indian Junior Men’s Team features an experienced mix of players who have in the past played the previous edition of FIH Junior World Cup in 2021 held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha as well as in 10th Sultan of Johor Cup 2022 where India clinched the title. Uttam Singh, who led India in the latter, has been named the captain with Boby Singh Dhami as the vice captain of the squad.
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Mohith HS and Himwaan Sihag have been named as goalkeepers while Shardanand Tiwari, Rohit, Amandeep Lakra, Amir Ali and Yogember Rawat will form India’s defence. The midfield will see the experienced Vishnukant Singh who had a good outing with the seniors during the recently-held FIH Hockey Pro League in Rourkela. He will be joined by Rajinder Singh, Poovanna CB, Amandeep and Sunit Lakra while Boby Singh Dhami, Araijeet Singh Hundal, Aditya Lalage, Uttam Singh, Sudeep Chirmako and Angad Bir Singh in the forward line.
Speaking about the team selection, Indian Junior Men’s Coach CR Kumar said, “We have a fairly experienced team with some of the players also having made their Senior debut in the recent tournaments. Winning the Sultan of Johor Cup was a big motivating factor and the team is very well prepared for this tournament.”
“We have gone through two preparatory and two competition cycles which have helped the players gain the right amount of exposure. With the Senior team also based out of the same camp here at SAI, Bengaluru, we were able to get ample experience playing matches against them. The team is upbeat and we look to finish on the top,” Kumar added.
Indian Junior Men’s Team:
Goalkeepers: Mohith H S, Himwaan Sihag
Defenders: Shardanand Tiwari, Rohit, Amandeep Lakra, Amir Ali, Yogember Rawat
Midfielders: Vishnukant Singh, Rajinder Singh, Poovanna C B, Amandeep, Sunit Lakra
Forwards: Boby Singh Dhami (Vc), Araijeet Singh Hundal, Aditya Lalage, Uttam Singh (C), Sudeep Chirmako, Angad Bir Singh
On Wednesday, Hockey India named the 18-member Indian Junior Women’s Team for the Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 scheduled to begin from 2nd June in Kakamigahara, Japan. The Indian Junior Women will be up against Korea, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan in Pool A during the group stage while Pool B consists of hosts Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong China and Indonesia. The Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 is a crucial event for the Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team as the top three nations from the tournament will qualify to the FIH Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup 2023.
India’s campaign will be spearheaded by captain Preeti while Deepika has been named the vice captain. Goalkeepers Madhuri Kindo and Aditi Maheshwari have been named in the squad along with defenders Mahima Tete, Preeti, Neelam, Ropni Kumari and Anjali Barwa. The midfield consists of Rutaja Dadaso Pisal, Manju Chorsiya, Jyoti Chhatri, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Sujata Kujur and Manashri Narendra Shedage.
India’s forward line will see the experienced Mumtaz Khan, Deepika and Deepika Soreng lead the charge along with newcomers Annu and Sunelita Toppo.
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Speaking about the team and the campaign, senior team chief coach Janneke Schopman said, “It wasn’t easy to select the 18 players for the Junior Asia Cup. The group of players are on par with each other but I think we selected a strong team for the Junior Asia Cup. There is lots of talent in India and it’s great that these young players get a chance to show themselves on the international stage.”
“With Junior World Cup qualification at stake we know we will have to compete every second but I’m excited to see where this team can go,” she added.
India will begin their campaign against Uzbekistan on 3rd June followed by a match against Malaysia on 5th June. They will take on Korea on 6th June followed by a match against Chinese Taipei. The semis will be held on 10th June while the Final will be played on 11th June.
Indian Junior Women’s Team:
Goalkeepers: Madhuri Kindo, Aditi Maheshwari
Defenders: Mahima Tete, Preeti (C), Neelam, Ropni Kumari, Anjali Barwa
Midfielders: Rutaja Dadaso Pisal, Manju Chorsiya, Jyoti Chhatri, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Sujata Kujur, Manashri Narendra Shedage
Forwards: Mumtaz Khan, Deepika (VC), Deepika Soreng, Annu, Sunelita Toppo