Salima Tete, Sharmila Devi get Olympic Qualifiers camp call-up

Two back-to-back games against USA will be played in Bhubaneswar in November with the winner on aggregate booking a ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

This would be the first time the team would be playing in Bhubaneswar, which has seen several major men’s tournaments in recent years.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The Indian women’s hockey team would kick-off the final phase of its preparation for the Olympic Qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar with the coaching camp beginning Monday.

The two back-to-back games against USA would be played at the same venue on November 1 and 2 with the winner on aggregate booking a ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Hockey India on Saturday named a 22-member squad for the camp, which would be pruned to 16.

While most of the senior team members figure in the list, the selectors have also called up youngsters including Salima Tete, Sharmila Devi and Jyoti for the camp.

READ : Savita: 'We have a well-settled team going into the Olympic qualifiers'

Incidentally, this would be the first time the team would be playing in Bhubaneswar, which has seen several major men’s tournaments in recent years. It would also be the first home game for the side after two years, the last time being a five match test series against Belarus in March 2017. The last competitive outing for the side at home, though, was the SAF Games in 2016.



“There is a lot of excitement among players to compete in Bhubaneswar. It is important for the team to get used to the pitch and we are also looking at playing practice matches amongst ourselves which we have requested should be open for public to come and watch. It will not only boost our confidence but it will also help us prepare better,” coach Sjoerd Marijne said.

India had recently toured England for a five match series against the reigning Olympic champion – although details about the first two games of the tour are sketchy – winning and losing one game each while drawing the remaining three.

The squad: Savita, Rajini Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Nisha, Sushila Chanu, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha Goyal, Namita Toppo, Sonika, Rani, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Jyoti, Vandana Katariya.