Akashdeep misses out on Asian Games, Lalit gets in
Akashdeep was not selected in the 18-member outfit despite being India’s second highest scorer in during Asian Champions Trophy
Experienced forward Akashdeep Singh and youngsters Jugraj Singh and Selvam Karthi, who were all part of India’s Asian Champions Trophy winning squad in August, were dropped from the Asian Games-bound squad as Hockey India (HI) on Thursday announced the men’s and women’s teams heading to Hangzhou.
Once the main forward of the team, Akashdeep, who also missed the cut for Tokyo Olympics, was not selected in the 18-member outfit despite being India’s second highest scorer in Chennai with four goals. Forward Karthi and drag-flicker Jugraj, who scored two and three goals in Tamil Nadu, were also not picked.
Instead, Olympic bronze medallist Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, drag-flicker Sanjay and midfielder Abhishek will aim to help India win gold and earn a direct berth for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The team will be led by skipper Harmanpreet Singh with Hardik Singh as his deputy. India are in Pool A with defending champions Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and Uzbekistan. South Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia are in Pool B. Harmanpreet and company will open their campaign against Uzbekistan on September 24.
Chief coach Janneke Schopman, on the other hand, will be heading to Hangzhou with the same squad that went to Terrassa for the four-nation invitational tour of Spain in July – the last international outing for the Indian women’s team.
The Indian women's team are placed in Pool A with South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Holders Japan, China, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia are in Pool B. The Savita Punia led team, with Deep Grace Ekka as her deputy, will open against Singapore on September 27.
"I feel very proud that the teams are on the right path to greater success. The recent Asian Champions Trophy victory in Chennai and the women's team winning some important matches in their recent tours and the inaugural FIH Nations Cup is a testimony to the team's determination and calibre. I have no doubt in my mind that both teams will succeed in China and win their Olympic berths," HI President Dilip Tirkey said during a send-off ceremony in Bengaluru.
The Indian teams will leave for Hangzhou on September 19 and will continue to train in Bengaluru until then.
Men’s squad: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (C), Sanjay, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sukhjeet Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
Women's squad: Savita Punia (C), Bichu Devi Kharibam, Deepika, Lalremsiami, Monika, Navneet Kaur, Neha, Nisha, Sonika, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Deep Grace Ekka, Vandana Katariya, Sangita Kumari, Vaishnavi Vittal Phalke, Nikki Pradhan, Sushila Chanu and Salima Tete