Mamta to carry India's hopes of women's Olympic qualification
Ace forward Mamta Kharab has been given the reign of the Indian women's hockey team for the all-important Olympic qualifiers for the Beijing Olympics. Mamta will lead the 18-member women's team in their last bid to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games.
Mamta has got an additional responsibility over her shoulders as she also carries the hopes of billions of Indians alongwith her after the heartbreaking disappointment caused by the men's hockey team following their Olympic qualifying debacle.
India will fight it out with Belgium, France, the Netherlands Antilles, Russia and the US in the nine-day tournament beginning in Kazan, Russia, April 19. The winner of this tournament will make it to the Olympic games, starting Aug 8.
According to Indian Women's Hockey Federation (IWHF), a total of 22 Indian women hockey players have been shortlisted following trials at the Sports Authority of India sub-centre in Lucknow on March 16 and 17. But only 18 will make it to the final squad announced here on Monday.
Defending champions Germany, silver medallists the Netherlands, bronze medallists Argentina, Australia, China, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa will be joined by the winner of this and two other qualifying tournaments in Beijing Games.
Goalkeepers: Dipika Murty, Marita Tirkey and Poonam Toppo
Defenders: Binita Toppo, Suman Bala (vice-captain), Rajwinder Kaur and Pushpa Pradhan
Mid-fielders: Subhadra Pradhan, Gagandeep Kaur, Rosalind Ralte, Asunta Lakra, Th. Ranjita and Manorama Devi
Forwards: Mamta Kharab (captain), Saba Anjum, Surinder Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur, Ritu Rani, Deepika Thakur, Adline Kerketta, Rani Devi and Pritam Rani Siwach.
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