The Indian women’s hockey team will hope to secure a berth for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics when they begin their campaign in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers on Saturday in Ranchi.

India will need to finish in the top three in order to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, scheduled to be held in July-August.

The event in Ranchi is one of four Olympic qualifying tournaments being held with the second women’s qualifying event being held in Valencia, Spain on the same dates (January 13-19).

The Indian men’s team have already qualified for Paris 2024 by virtue of winning the gold medal at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The women finished in third place after beating Japan 2-1 in the bronze-medal match play-off, but could not secure a direct berth for Paris.

India will be led by experienced goalkeeper Savita who was also named the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year last year.

However, the hosts were dealt a blow on January 4 when Vandana Katariya, the most capped player for the country, was ruled out of the tournament due to a cheekbone injury. Defender Nikki Pradhan has been named the vice-captain instead.

Also read: Youthful Indian women’s team eye ticket to Paris Games

Currently, aside from 2024 Olympic hosts France, the five continental champions – China (Asia), Australia (Oceania), Netherlands (Europe), Argentina (the Americas) and South Africa (Africa) – have all qualified for Paris 2024.

India squad

Goalkeepers: Savita (C), Bichu Devi Kharibam 

Defenders: Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Monika 

Midfielders: Nisha, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Salima Tete, Sonika, Jyoti, Beauty Dungdung

Forwards: Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari, Deepika

Tournament format

Both the qualifying tournament in Valencia and Ranchi will see the teams that finish in the top three – winner, runner-up and third-place playoff winner – qualify for the Olympics. The eight teams competing in Ranchi have been divided into two pools – Germany, Japan, Chile and Czech Republic in Pool A; and India along with New Zealand, United States and Italy in Pool B.

Within the pools, each team plays the other once and the top two in each pool will go on to face each other in the semi-finals on January 18. The winner of each semi-final will face each other in the final, while the losers will compete to see who finishes in the final third qualification spot, all on January 19.


Pool A: Germany, Japan, Chile, Czech Republic

Pool B: India, New Zealand, United States, Italy

India’s schedule

India play all their matches at 7.30 pm IST, the prime spot for the host country. They kick off their campaign against the United States on January 13.

A tough encounter is likely against their second opponent, New Zealand on January 14 and they wrap up their pool games with the match against Italy on January 16.

Although the hosts are favourite to clinch one of the three coveted spots, they will have to overcome their record against New Zealand on paper – having never beaten them in regulation time. The Indian team will also want to do well to avoid the result through which they qualified for Tokyo 2020 – beating the US by the slimmest of margins in the playoff.

Among India’s opponents in the group stage, the US are the only team that have won an Olympic medal – bronze in 1984.

India’s match schedule

January 13, 2024: India vs United States at 7.30PM IST

January 14, 2024: New Zealand vs India at 7.30PM IST

January 16, 2024: India vs Italy at 7.30PM IST

Initially, the qualifying tournament was supposed to be held in China, but after they won the gold medal at the Asian Games, the event was moved to Ranchi.

The FIH Olympic Qualifiers will be broadcast on Sports18 and live streamed on Jio Cinema.