Vandana strengthens the team’s attack: Rani

Antwerp, June 13 (IANS) Indian women’s hockey team forward Rani said on Saturday that striker Vandana Katariya will add venom to their attack during the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals here from June 20 to July 5.

India have been grouped in Pool B with Australia, hosts Belgium, New Zealand and Poland. They will play their first match against Belgium on June 20.

“We clearly missed Vandana during the Hawke’s Bay Cup. Her being back in the team strengthens our attack as she is good with speed and skill, to break the defence chain, which at times leaves the opponents on the back foot,” said the 21-year-old Rani.

A top-3 finish in the 10-team tournament will earn any side an Olympic berth while a top-4 finish will help them qualify for the HWL Final to be played in Argentina in December.

“The tournament is really tough but the aim is the berth for the Rio Olympics. We are geared up as a team. The key will be to take the crucial passes as this enables keeping possession of the ball and moving further towards the opponent’s defence wall,” said Rani.

“This is possible if we keep pace with each other. We have been working on our passes and tackles and we are confident of a good start.”

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