Indian women’s squad leaves for Hockey5s Women’s World Cup in Oman
Bengaluru: The Indian women’s team embarks on a journey towards a new dawn in the inaugural FIH Hockey5s Women’s World Cup 2024, the new shorter version of field hockey that the international federation hopes to attract newer talent to the sport.
The team commenced its journey from Kempe Gowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru to Muscat, Oman on Sunday morning to try its chase its fortunes in the top event in this new format.
The Indian women’s Hockey5s team, which comfortably beat Thailand 7-2 in the Final of the 2023 Women’s Asian Hockey5s World Cup Qualifier to confirm a spot for the prestigious tournament, has been included in Pool C alongside the United States of America, Poland and Namibia.
Pool A comprises the Netherlands, Malaysia, Fiji and Oman while Pool B includes Australia, South Africa, Ukraine and Zambia while Pool D has New Zealand, Uruguay, Thailand and Paraguay.
India will play their first match against Poland on January 24 at 1250hrs IST followed by the United States of America at 2110hrs IST on the same day. They will play their final group game against Namibia on January 25 at 1430hrs IST. The top two teams from each group will play the quarterfinals scheduled for January 26, with the semifinals scheduled for the same day while the final will be played on January 27.
The Indian women’s team will be led by experienced goalkeeper Rajni Etimarpu and defender Mahima Chaudhary as vice-captain. The team also comprises Bansari Solanki as the second goalkeeper, with Akshata Abaso Dhekale and Jyoti Chhatri as defenders.
The midfielders include Mariana Kujur and Mumtaz Khan while Ajmina Kujur, Rutaja Dadaso Pisal and Deepika Soreng have been named as forwards.
Before stepping on to the flight from Bengaluru, captain Rajni Etimarpu said, “It is the first edition of the FIH Hockey5s Women’s World Cup. The team is excited about the opportunity to represent India in what is an improvised form of the game. We’ve had a good preparatory camp and are looking forward to having a good tournament.”
Vice-captain Mahima Chaudhary’s thoughts resonated with that of her captain. She said, “We have our plans set for ourselves. We know how we are going to go about each game and each one has developed clarity on their respective roles during the practice camp we had. It’s the first time everyone is a part of this event and we hope to go all the way.”