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Warm send-off to Indian hockey eves

IT WAS a perfect send-off for the Asiad-bound Indian women's hockey team under the leadership of Jyoti Kullu, who appeared confident of doing well in the Doha.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 10:33 IST

IT WAS a perfect send-off for the Asiad-bound Indian women's hockey team under the leadership of Jyoti Kullu, who appeared confident of doing well in the Doha.

And the ambience seemed to mirror the feel-good mood.

A cool breeze blew over the sprawling lawns of the Sports Authority of India's Sub-Centre near the Amausi Airport here on Tuesday night.

Planes overhead attracted the attention of the 100-odd gathering as did the lighting and fluttering flags.

The Indian team is due to leave for Doha from New Delhi on November 23.
The theme of the evening 'Mission Gold at Asiad' was the brainchild of SAI's deputy director and former international athlete Rajinder Singh. Everyone present at the do encouraged the team to win a medal at the Doha Games.

“It's a wonderful send-off to the team and we promise to live up to expectations,” said manager Rajbeer Kaur, who joined the team only on Tuesday afternoon. Echoing his views, coach Maharaj Kishan Kaushik said the team had learnt from their mistakes during the recently held World Cup and would not repeat them in Doha.

“Doha is our mission now. The World Cup is a thing of the past. Even if we play to 80 per cent of our potential in Doha, we will be able to see the Tri-colour flying high,” promised the balding Kaushik, who was presented with a 'pagri' on the occasion. “It will help me look young,” Kaushik laughed after wearing the red turban.

Besides, chief guest Vinod Kumar Kharbanda (director, Sports), a number of dignitaries like Olympian Syed Ali, Ram Prakash Singh, Arjuna Awardee spikers Ranbeer Singh, Anna Singh, Iron Man of Asia and Arjuna Awardee athlete Vijay Singh Chauhan, Dronacharya awardee weightlifting coach Hansa Sharma heaped praise on the women's hockey team.

While Syed Ali told the team to remain focused in Doha, Ram Prakash Singh explained to the girls the magic of a 70-minute duel. Some of the others recited a few lines of poetry to encourage the team. The two-hour-long function came to an end with a sumptuous dinner cooked by Babloo, who was specially thanked by the team members for good food management during their 40-day camp.

The team
Goalkeepers: Dipika Murty, Marita Tirkey.

Full-back: Suman Bala, Binita Toppo, Pushpa Pradhan.

Half-back: Rajwinder Kaur, Asunta Lakra, Joydeep Kaur, Subhadra Pradhan.

Forwards: Surinder Kaur, Jyoti Sunita Kullu (capt), Mamta Kharb, Saba Anjum, Jasjeet Kaur, Binita Xess, Ritu Rani.

Officials: M K Kaushik (Coach),
Rajbeer Kaur (Manager), Anurita Saini (Assistant Coach), A B Subbaiah (Goalke-
eping Coach), Suraj Kumar (Physiotherapist).