New Delhi: Indian women’s hockey team players Salima Tete, Nikki Pradhan and Sangeeta Kumari are excited to perform in front of the home crowd at the prestigious Jharkhand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2023. The tournament will run from October 27 to November 5, in which teams from India, Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand will compete. Savita will lead the Indian women’s hockey team in the tournament and Deep Grace Ekka will be her deputy. India will begin its campaign in the tournament against Thailand.
Expressing her excitement on returning to Ranchi for the major tournament, Indian women’s hockey team forward Sangeeta said, I played my first tournament in Ranchi when I was in the Under-14 team and we won the bronze medal for Hockey Jharkhand. Later, I played here at sub-junior level also. However, this will be my first time to participate in such a big international event in Ranchi. I can’t wait to go out in front of the home fans and give my best performance.
Sangeeta has fond memories of playing matches in the city as a child and feels proud of the growth of hockey in the state. She said, when I reached the hostel, some facilities were not available there. Earlier, only a few players emerged from the state. However, now Jharkhand has many players in the national team. All necessary facilities including hockey turf and equipment are available. Over the past few years, Hockey India and the Government of Jharkhand have worked hard to ensure the growth of hockey in the state.
Meanwhile, Indian women’s hockey team defender Nikki Pradhan, who has already played more than 150 international matches for India, said the tournament will help young players from the state.
He said, I am happy that Hockey India and the Government of Jharkhand have decided to organize such a prestigious tournament here in Ranchi. Hockey is on the rise in the state, and this tournament will further boost the rise of the game. Soon, the time will come when our state will be known for its best hockey players. Our young players in the state will also get to learn a lot from this tournament.
Nikki also revealed that her family members are looking forward to seeing international hockey being played in Ranchi as well and they hope to pack the stadium once the tournament starts.
He said, this will be the first time that an international match of this level is being played here in Ranchi. All my family members, cousins and friends are very excited and keep calling me asking when the matches will start. I am sure everyone will be part of the crowd. It makes me a little nervous but I am equally excited to perform in front of my loved ones.
This will be the seventh edition of the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy. The Indian women’s hockey team won the title in 2016 and finished runner-up in 2018. Therefore, the team will aim to continue the good performance and finish on the podium.
Indian women’s hockey team midfielder Salima Tete said that the Indian team will benefit from the fact that they have played in Ranchi conditions before.
Salima said that three members of our team have grown up playing hockey in Jharkhand and all of them are well aware of the environment and conditions of Ranchi. Many of us have also played many domestic tournaments here in the state, and hence, we are confident that adjusting quickly to the environment and making necessary adjustments will give us an advantage in the tournament.
Salima, who hails from Simdega district, further said that she wants to help her team win the gold medal by giving her best performance in the tournament.
He said, the tournament is a good opportunity for us to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers. I want to give my best in the tournament, and we as a team want to improve in some areas before the important matches in January.
After their first match against Thailand, India will take on Malaysia on Saturday, October 28, 2023. India will take on China in their third game on Monday, 30 October 2023 and then take on Japan on Tuesday, 31 October 2023. After this, the Indian team will play its final pool match against Korea on Thursday, 2 November. The semi-finals and final of the tournament will be played on Saturday, 4 November and Sunday, 5 November 2023 respectively.